U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan

UPR 25th Session, May 6, 2016

As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
The United States welcomes the delegation of Tajikistan.

We commend Tajikistan for enacting a law against domestic violence in 2012 and encourage the creation of mechanisms to better enable victims to report instances of domestic violence and access assistance and protection services.

However, the United States is troubled by the worsening human rights situation in Tajikistan.

We are concerned about new legislation restricting space for civil society.  We are alarmed by the increase in the number of politically-motivated detentions and incarcerations of human rights defenders and prominent opposition figures in the name of national security and stability.  We are also concerned about continued government efforts to silence independent media for political purposes, including through harassment and legislation that facilitates the blockage of Internet and telecommunications services.

We recommend that Tajikistan:

1. Cease the harassment and persecution of human rights defenders and civil society organizations, including by ensuring that the implementing regulations for amendments to the Law on Public Associations are not used to harass NGOs through surprise inspections, onerous information requests, and other inhibiting tactics.

2. Provide human rights defenders, including defense attorneys and political figures detained as a result of their peaceful activities, such as Burzurgmehr Yorov (Boor-zoorg-MEHR YOH-rov), Shuhrat Qudratov (SHUH-hrat Koo-DRAH-tov), and Ishoq Tabarov (EE-shock Tah-BAH-rov) and his sons, with fair, open, and transparent trials, including the substantive protections and procedural guarantees in accordance with Tajikistan’s international obligations.

3. Repeal legislation that facilitates the blockage of Internet content and telecommunications.