The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has submitted an alternative report to the UN Human Rights Committee, which is set to review Tajikistan during its 126th session in Geneva, in July 2019.
Attack on the Opposition
The review of Tajikistan is seen as particularly important this year. A brutal crackdown on all political opposition has taken place since the country’s last review in the Human Rights Committee in 2013, in what the NHC sees as an orchestrated campaign to ensure complete control of political life in the country by the president and his circle.
The facts are beyond discussion at this point. Tajikistan finds itself in a deep human rights crisis.
“Our report details disturbing cases of long-term imprisonment without fair trial, widespread use of torture and kidnappings abroad of opposition members”, said Marius Fossum, NHC Regional Representative in Central Asia, continuing:
“The facts are beyond discussion at this point. Tajikistan finds itself in a deep human rights crisis”.
The report to the Committee provides a brief overview of the different opposition parties and groups in Tajikistan and the process leading to their being declared “extremist” and banned by the Tajik government, the exodus of opposition activists from the country during the crackdown, as well as mass-arrests and sentences of 20 years to life being handed down in closed trials in Dushanbe. In a particularly outrageous move by the authorities, one of the defence lawyers brave enough to work with the opposition was sentenced to 28 years in prison himself.
“It’s a bitter irony that President Rahmon initiated this crackdown to bring his control of political life in the country up to the standards of more repressive regimes such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan”, says Senior Adviser Ivar Dale in Geneva, and adds:
“In the meantime, neighboring Uzbekistan has taken major steps in the exact opposite direction, leaving Tajikistan at the bottom with only the most isolated and backwards regimes on the planet.”
The NHC has kept up a focus on Tajikistan in the United Nations in recent years, briefing the UN Committee Against Torture ahead of its May 2018 review of the Central Asian republic, as well as numerous foreign delegations ahead of Tajikistan’s Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council May 2016.
Uzbekistan has taken major steps in the exact opposite direction, leaving Tajikistan at the bottom with only the most isolated and backwards regimes on the planet.
The UN Human Rights Committee’s review
The UN Human Rights Committee’s review is set to take place on 2-3 July at Palais Wilson in Geneva. The NHC will attend a briefing for committee members ahead of the review, where Tajik activists will also be given an opportunity to inform the Committee about recent developments. Tajikistan will be represented by a government delegation answering questions from the Committee.
Read the NHC submission here.