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Activist Called on UN to Assess Tajikistan Security Forces

Berlin (06/12 – 67.67)

Asliddin Sherzamonov, an activist from Tajikistan, strongly believes that the United Nations (UN) should assess the actions of the Central Asian country’s security forces during the events of 2021 and 2022 in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO). Speaking at the UN session on minorities held in Geneva on December 1, Asliddin said that an independent international commission should be established to evaluate the activities of Tajikistan’s security forces.

In the operations carried out by security forces in 2021 in Roshtkala and Khorog, three people died. In another operations in the spring of 2022 by the security forces, in Rushan and Khorog, at least 34 people lost their lives. According to the Tajikistan Prosecutor General’s Office, 29 people were reported as victims.

During the Tajikistan security forces’ operations in 2021, three people died in Roshtkal and Khorog. In another security forces’ operations in the spring of 2022, at least 34 people died in Rushan and Khorog.

The President of Tajikistan referred to them as members of criminal groups, admitting that he personally gave the order to conduct the operation. Relatives of the deceased are convinced that they were unarmed and peaceful individuals who took to the streets to express their disagreement and protest the actions of the authorities.

Asliddin Sherzamonov, addressing the UN, pointed out that a hundred people were wounded in the events occurring in GBAO. Dozens of others were arrested in Tajikistan and Russia and later, through closed-door court decisions, sentenced to long years behind bars. According to him, “more than two thousand people fled abroad.”

According to the Tajik activist, since 2008, Pamiris in GBAO have faced repression, their deaths are not investigated, and the detained suffer from ruthless treatment. Among the detainees, there are many human rights defenders, activists, leaders of civil society, and journalists. “Non-governmental organizations dealing with human rights, gender equality, education, and economic development have been forced to cease their activities. The once active civil society in GBAO is now in fear and cannot speak out about the authorities’ violations.”

In August 2023, the authorities in Tajikistan acknowledged the closure of five non-governmental organizations in GBAO. According to them, these structures were “linked to criminal groups”. Several other organizations had to their names.

Asliddin Sherzamonov believes that the authorities in Tajikistan should immediately “release all leaders of civil society, ensure economic growth in GBAO and recognize the Pamiris as a separate minority with the right to full freedom.”

In the past year, many human rights organizations and Western countries have criticized the actions of the authorities in Tajikistan regarding the Pamiris. Amnesty International stated that the Tajikistan authorities must respect the rights of all residents of Tajikistan and particularly, cease immediate repression against Pamiri activists and other dissenters.

Fernand de Varen, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, also stated in October that “harsh measures were applied to protesters in the events of 2021 and 2022 in GBAO, and these events should undergo an independent and fair investigation.”

Authorities in Tajikistan are confident that the security forces’ operations were necessary to ensure safety and detain criminals acting against the interests of society and the GBAO leadership. The opposition is convinced that the purpose of the repression is to combat dissent and disagreement.

GBAO is the largest region in Tajikistan, with a population of around 250,000 people. The majority of the population adheres to Ismailism, led by Aga Khan IV. Most of the population speaks local languages known as “Pamiri languages.”

Source : Radio Free Europe

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