UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Nazila Ganeya will pay an official visit to Tajikistan from 11 to 21 April.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, during the visit she will get acquainted with the situation with freedom of conscience and religion in this country and find out how the government fulfills international obligations in the field of eliminating all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, UN Special Rapporteur to study the situation with freedom of religion in Tajikistan
Nazila Ganeya got acquainted with the conclusions and recommendations following the visit to Tajikistan in 2007 of the then Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, as well as in ensuring peaceful coexistence between different religious communities in the context of combating extremism and terrorism. which were presented in a report to the UN Human Rights Council.
During his 11-day visit, the UN Special Rapporteur is reported to meet with government officials, representatives of religious or faith communities, civil society organizations and the United Nations. Nazila Ganeya asked to be allowed to visit Khorog and Khujand.
Recall that the authorities of Tajikistan rejected the request of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, to visit the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region during her visit to Tajikistan in November-December last year.
Following the visit, Ms. Ganeya will hold a press conference on April 21 and share with journalists her preliminary observations on the situation with freedom of conscience and religion in Tajikistan.
The conclusions and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2024.
Iranian-born Nazila Ganeya was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in July 2022, starting on August 1, 2022. Ms Ganeya is Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Oxford.
Sulaimon Davlatzoda, chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs, Streamlining National Traditions, Celebrations and Rites, said at a press conference in Dushanbe on February 3 that the Tajik authorities had invited a UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief to the country.
The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief will visit Tajikistan at a time when the authorities are being criticized by international human rights organizations and Western countries for restricting religious freedoms. In the US Department of State’s latest annual report on religious freedom in the world, published on June 2 last year, Tajikistan is among the countries of particular concern in connection with “violations of religious rights and freedoms of citizens.” The report, in particular, states that, although the Constitution of Tajikistan gives “the right to independently determine one’s attitude to religion, to profess any religion or not to profess any religion separately or jointly with others, to participate in the performance of religious cults, rituals and ceremonies”, however, the authorities and other laws limit these rights of citizens.
The Tajik authorities responded by saying that “the current US report, like the previous ones, does not reflect the real situation with religious freedom in Tajikistan.”