Experts Baffled by Suicide Rate in North Tajikistan

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Tajikistan’s two decades of economic problems are often blamed for large numbers of suicide cases across the country. But if that is true, experts say, why is the rate unusually high in the northern Soghd region, the most industrialised and wealthy part of Tajikistan?

Of the 293 people who committed suicide in Soghd last year, 17 were in the main town Khujand, and included eight women and four minors.

“What’s happened? There weren’t many before – there used to be more in the south,” human rights defender Oinikhol Bobonazarova said. “People are better off here than in the south, so why is it happening here?”

Experts say no single motive of suicide can be identified. Factors range from extreme poverty, family problems, lack of support and extracurricular activities in schools, psychological disorders, or a combination of several.

In Bobonazarova’s view, even in Soghd it is the most economically vulnerable members of society who are most at risk of committing suicide. “The main thing is poverty," she said.

Khurshed Durakht is an IWPR-trained radio reporter in Tajikistan.

The audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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