Interview with Rustam Shokhmurod, Chairman of Committee on Law and Order, Defence and Security of of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan on Drug Control Agent Day
– Mr Shokhmurod, what measures are being taken to combat drugs in Tajikistan?
– The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan considers the fight against drug trafficking an integral part of the fight against international terrorism and organized transnational crime. Despite the complicated socio-political situation in the Republic after the collapse of the common union state and the ensuing civil war the issues of combating drug trafficking have always been in the focus of attention of the country’s leadership.
On April 12, 1996 the President of the Republic of Tajikistan signed the decree On Urgent Measures for Strengthening the Fight Against Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Back in 1998, President Emomali Rahmon, predicting drug-related problems emanating from Afghanistan, speaking at the United Nations, called for the formation of an “anti-drug security belt” around Afghanistan.
Tajikistan has acceded to three main UN conventions: the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
In order to combat drug trafficking, the Government took the unprecedented step of creating a new law enforcement agency.
On April 27, 1999 in Vienna, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the UN Under-Secretary-General signed a protocol on the establishment of a drug control agency reporting directly to the Head of State.
– And what steps was Tajikistan expected to make under this Protocol?
– Tajikistan took responsibility for the establishment of the Drug Control Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the formation of the legal framework for its activities. UNODC undertook to develop a draft programme of technical and financial support for the establishment of the Agency, to assist in the training and professional development of staff, and to establish a centre for the collection, processing and analysis of information.
Thus, the Drug Control Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan was established by the Presidential Decree 1218 dated June 1, 1999 and was mandated to implement state policy, inter-agency coordination and international cooperation in the sphere of legal circulation of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, as well as to prevent their illicit trafficking and abuse.
With the establishment of the Agency in the Republic of Tajikistan, four dedicated state programmes for preventing drug addiction and combating illicit drug trafficking were developed and implemented.
One of priority directions of the set of measures of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan is prevention of drug addiction and elimination of these negative phenomena representing serious threat to gene pool of the nation.
In this connection on April 3, 2004 the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan established the Coordination Council for Drug Abuse Prevention, with the Agency being responsible for its coordination and activities.
A new stage of the Agency’s activities is associated with the adoption of the decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan of February 13, 2013 On the National Strategy for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking in the Republic of Tajikistan for 2013–2020. International experts highly appreciated the implementation of this strategy.
Today, a new National Strategy on Drug Control in the Republic of Tajikistan for 2021–2030, approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan on March 20, 2021, has been adopted.
The Republic of Tajikistan attaches particular importance to strengthening international cooperation and, to this end, has signed more than 40 interagency, bilateral and multilateral drug control agreements.
– What achievements of the Drug Control Agency would you highlight in particular?
– During its period of operation, the Agency has been fighting drug-related crime very successfully, having disrupted the activities of 49 organized criminal groups and seized more than 47 tonnes of illegal drugs. Behind these figures stand the lives of millions of people saved from the risk of becoming drug addicts, and the channels for financing illegal armed groups have been cut off.
The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan is aware that drug trafficking, being a serious contemporary danger, affects national, regional and international security and the interests of all mankind. Therefore, in designing its policy to fight this scourge, Tajikistan calls for cooperation in eliminating the factors of political, economic and military support to international terrorism, one of the main sources of financing of which is drug smuggling.