Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Youth Violence in Tajikistan

By Nilufar Karimova











Educationalists in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan are worried about a recent spate of violence among school-age boys.

In one recent case in the capital Dushanbe, an argument that began on a social media site escalated into a face-to-face battle between two groups of adolescents, in which one of them was stabbed to death.

It was the latest and most serious in a series of school fights this academic year, three of which involved knives.

“These young lads want to show they are leaders, but why do they come to school with knives?” asked Bahriddin Davlatbekov, who is leading the team investigating the recent murder. “The police can’t go through their pockets. Maybe their parents should check their kids and ask them why they need a knife.”

Jaloliddin Amirov, an educationalist with Tajikistan’s education ministry, says schools are aware of children with problems but fail to communicate with their parents. Some troubled adolescents may have inadequate parenting, while others are from rural communities and find it hard to adapt to Dushanbe’s urban environment, and can be drawn into gang culture.

“Vulnerability is one of the main reasons adolescent boys commit crimes,” said psychologist Mahmadullo Davlatov.

Amirov believes that society at large is also at fault for “looking on dispassionately”.

“We see adolescents fighting but we don’t do anything to stop them,” he said.

Nilufar Karimova is an IWPR contributor in Tajikistan.

This audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan. It was produced under two IWPR projects: Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan, funded by the European Union; and the Human Rights Reporting, Confidence Building and Conflict Information Programme, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of either the European Union or the Norwegian foreign ministry.