The National Alliance of Tajikistan (NAT) welcomes the visit of Mr. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, to Central Asia, including Tajikistan, and considers it as an important opportunity to strengthen the cooperation between the European Union and Central Asian countries in the framework of the EU’s new Central Asia strategy.
The National Alliance of Tajikistan hopes that during the visit the issues regarding human rights violations and the government’s restrictions on the basic human rights and freedom along with other issues such as economic relations, regional security, the fight against terrorism, etc will be seriously raised. Although these issues have always been the subject of talks between the EU officials and Tajikistan, but these talks have not had concrete results so far. On contrary, Tajikistan, once a promising country, has become one of the worst countries in regard to the issues of public liberties and human rights for the past 10 years. While the EU has alone provided hundreds of millions of euro as financial assistance to Tajikistan, due to widespread corruptions, mismanagements, lack of transparency and nepotism, all domestic and foreign efforts to improve the situations in the country have been ineffective. Today, Tajikistan is one of the worst countries in the economic, political and freedom statistics that should cause deep concern to our countries’ partners, such as the European Union.
Tajik president Emomali Rahmon, starting in 2010, after having decided to extend his presidency and transfer it to one of his children (a decision which was completely opposite to the content of the Tajik Peace Accord and contrary to the accepted standards for transferring power in democratic countries), has paved the way for his plan by taking step-by-step necessarily political and legal actions. The political parties were banned and the opposition was cracked down and its leaders were imprisoned for a long time. Muhammadruzi Iskandarov, chairman of the Democratic Party (imprisoned to 23 years), Zaid Saidov, head of the unregistered party “New Tajikistan” (imprisoned to 29 years), Saidumar Husaini and Mahmadali Hait, two deputies of the IRPT’s chairman (two imprisoned for life) and tens of the IRPT’s highly ranking members were sentenced for long terms in prison.
The well-known lawyers, Buzurgmehr Yorov (imprisoned to 29 years) and Nuriddin Mahkamov (sentenced to 21 years in prison) faced long prison sentences for “crimes” of providing legal assistance to political prisoners.
During this period, dozens of independent news and websites were closed or blocked. Tajikistan is among the countries having the worst freedom of expression records.
Regarding the restrictions on religious freedom, Tajikistan is one of the worst countries in the world. Today, thousands of religious people under the pretext of fighting terrorism are being persecuted, actions led to the rise of violent extremism. The closures of mosques and religious schools, the fight against the religious figures and manifestations, prohibition of the entry of young people and women into religious institutions, are among the policies that have been implemented continuously over the past few years.
The National Alliance of Tajikistan hopes that president of the European Council in his visit to Tajikistan will raise the unbearable situations of the prisoners, especially the Tajik political prisoners. In the past six months, there have been two bloody tragedies in Tajikistan prisons (one in Vahdat and another in Khujand) that killed dozens. Psychological and physical pressures, tortures and degrading treatments of the prisoners, widespread corruptions in the systems of the country’s prisons have led to such bloody events inside the prisons.
Over the past three years, thousands of Tajik citizens have emigrated to the European Union as a result of the repressions and persecutions done by the Tajik authorities and many of them have received political asylum status. The number of refugees in the European Union is increasing day by day, which indicates a worsening of the situations of the human rights issues in Tajikistan.
The National Alliance of Tajikistan believes that EU leadership will use this visit as a good opportunity not only to strengthen bilateral relations, but also to support public values and basic rights and freedoms.
National Alliance of Tajikistan
May 28, 2019