Letter to the EU Delegation Regarding Tajikistan
Together with Freedom Now, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Civil Rights Defenders writes to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security policy, with great concern regarding the human rights situation in Tajikistan and the continued repression of civil society.
The Tajik government has been pursuing a widespread crackdown to dismantle and discredit the country’s peaceful political opposition. While there is no complete list of political prisoners in the country, local activists have reported that between 100 and 200 opposition members are presently behind bars.
Disturbingly, Tajikistan’s campaign against freedom of expression and association has extended beyond the country’s borders. The government has sought the extradition of critics living abroad in Greece, Turkey, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and other countries, using the Interpol system to issue red notices against members of opposition groups. In some instances where extradition has not been successful, the government has even resorted to kidnapping.
Civil Rights Defenders, Freedom Now, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee urge Federica Mogherini to take additional steps to ensure that the Tajik government complies with its international obligations. Specifically, we request that she:
- Continues to seek the release of Yorov, Hayit, Saidov, Mirsaidov and all other persons imprisoned on politically-motivated charges in the country.
- Forcefully emphasises the illegality of torture and all cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees and seeks guarantees from the Tajik government that any such abuse of detainees cease immediately and the perpetrators be held accountable;
- As a humanitarian step, seeks guarantees from the Tajik government that Yorov, Hayit, Saidov and all other persons imprisoned on politically-motivated charges suffering in prison be granted immediate and continuing access to necessary medical treatment, medication, and nutritious food;
- Seeks permission from the Tajik government to visit Yorov, Hayit, Saidov, Mirsaidov, and others in prison;
- Seeks guarantees from the Tajik government that it will end the harassment of family members of prisoners;
- Places on hold any GSP+ negotiations until the Tajik government releases all political prisoners;
- Considers placing individual travel ban or asset freeze sanctions on Tajik officials who have committed torture and other gross human rights abuses; and
- Uses available diplomatic, development aid and trade tools and condition a closer bilateral relationship with Tajikistan on the measurable improvement of its human rights record.
Download the letter in full: Letter to the EU Delegation regarding Tajikistan.