The international human rights organization Amnesty International called Tajikistan a country whose economic and political life has been under the strict control of the president and his relatives for 30 years.
Amnesty International report “The State of Human Rights in the World 2022-2023” posted March 28th.
Amnesty International criticizes Tajikistan for the suppression of protests in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, the persecution and arrest of civil activists and journalists, torture and other ill-treatment, and the deportation of Afghan refugees.
The authors of the report note that according to official data, 21 people were killed during the “anti-terrorist operation” in GBAO, while unofficial sources give a figure that is more than twice that number. “In the absence of independent information from Tajikistan, due to the circumstances of many of the deaths, there were suggestions that extrajudicial executions may have taken place,” the report says.
Amnesty International writes about the arbitrary detention of civic activists, community leaders and journalists, noting that several well-known members of the Pamir diaspora in Russia were kidnapped and later found in Tajikistan’s custody.
The Tajik authorities claim that leaders and members of organized criminal groups were liquidated during the anti-terrorist operation in GBAO.
Amnesty International’s annual report notes that freedom of expression in Tajikistan has been severely curtailed, with journalists and bloggers being targeted in the wake of protests in GBAO last year.
In 2022, the Tajik authorities not only imprisoned bloggers and journalists Abdullo Gurbati, Daler Imomali, Abusattor Pirmuhammadzoda, Khushruz Dzhumaev and Zavkibek Saidamini, but also ordered the private news agency Asia-Plus to stop covering events in GBAO.
In the second half of last year, seven journalists and bloggers were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment – from 7 to 21 years in prison. They were accused, in particular, of disseminating false information, participating in an extremist community, and collaborating with banned organizations. The journalists themselves and their relatives deny these accusations.
Amnesty International also criticizes Tajikistan for the widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment in the country, both to intimidate and extract confessions. “People in detention reported abuse and neglect, including beatings, lack of food and water, cold and dampness in cells,” the report says.
Amnesty International notes in its report that in August the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expressed serious concern over the detention and deportation of Afghan refugees. “Representatives of the Afghan refugee community in Tajikistan, which numbers almost 14,000 people, reported forced refoulements that took place without any due process and had no justification,” the human rights activists write.
Last year, the government of Tajikistan, in a report to the UN Human Rights Committee, stated that the main reasons for the expulsion of Afghan refugees from the country were their violation of local laws, issues related to security and law and order, as well as health issues and protecting the legitimate interests of citizens of Tajikistan.
According to the Tajik authorities, over 10,000 refugees from Afghanistan live in the country, most of them fled the Taliban over the years. The vast majority of Afghan refugees say they are not making long-term plans in Tajikistan. They perceive this country as a transit point on their way to the West. Over the past year, about 4,000 Afghan refugees have moved from Tajikistan to Canada.