EU must consider sanctions against Tajikistan

Urging EU to react: 200 politicians in Tajikistan are behind bars and the largest opposition party is banned.

An unprecedented human rights crisis is unraveling in Tajikistan. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) along with other international NGOs now call on the European Union to press Tajikistan on the country’s grave human rights situation.

This is what’s going on in Tajikistan:

  • Hundreds of peaceful opposition members imprisoned
  • Largest opposition party banned
  • Lawyers harassed, tortured and imprisoned
  • Peaceful activists abroad kidnapped
  • Journalists imprisoned
  • Family members of activists persecuted
Marius Fossum is the NHC’s Regional Representative in Central Asia

“The human rights crisis in Tajikistan is out of control. It is time for EU to consider targeted sanctions against those responsible for the gross human rights violations”, said Marius Fossum, the NHC’s Regional Representative in Central Asia.

Buzurgmehr Yorov has been tortured and sentenced to 28 years imprisonment in retaliation for his role as defense counsel for members of the peaceful Tajikistani opposition. © 2015 RFE/RL

The NHC, Freedom Now, Human Rights Watch and Civil Rights Defenders call on the European Union to:

  • Seek the release of Tajikistani political prisoners
  • Forcefully emphasize the illegality of torture
  • Seek guarantees from Tajikistani authorities that political prisoners be granted necessary medical treatment
  • Seek permission to visit in prison selected political prisoners
  • Seek guarantees from Tajikistani authorities to secure relatives of all political prisoners from harassment
  • Freeze Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus negotiations until Tajikistan releases all political prisoners
  • Consider implementing targeted sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes against Tajikistani government officials responsible for gross human rights violations
  • Condition a closer relationship with Tajikistan on the measurable improvement of its human rights record

Read the open letter to the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: