Various human rights watch groups (and the UN as well) have sounded the alarm

Tajikistan's Human Rights Rating Drops to Historic Low

photo_camera KREMLIN/ALEXEI DRUZHININ - Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon

Recently, Tajikistan鈥檚 Foreign Ministry officials have been busy, meeting with high level representatives from Washington and the United Nations to discuss increased foreign investment and the Western powers鈥 interest in maintaining a politically stable Central Asia amidst the Russia/Ukraine war. Just back in February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin met with Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin to discuss Afghanistan, and in March the United Nations鈥 UNCTAD released a new economic analysis which aims to realize Tajikistan鈥檚 long-term sustainable development plan. This might sound like relatively good news for central Asia鈥檚 poorest country, but it comes all the while Tajikistan鈥檚 civilian population has come under siege by its own government. 

The US and UN may be primarily focused on international issues regarding Tajikistan, but various human rights watch groups (and the UN as well) have sounded the alarm: basic rights and freedoms in the country have come under violent crackdown by president Emomali Rahmon鈥檚 autocratic regime.

The CIVICUS Monitor, a global consortium of civil society organizations, has downgraded Tajikistan鈥檚 rating from 鈥榬epressed鈥 to 鈥榗losed鈥, the lowest possible rating available. Since the beginning of Tajik president Rahmon鈥檚 over 30-year reign over the country, the government has always repressed individual human rights, such as freedom of expression or freedom of the press, but 2022 marked a new low, when widespread protests broke out in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) following the public killing of an unarmed man by the police. On command of the president, police and military responded brutally, targeting local leaders and political opponents, and leaving scores of protesters dead or injured. During the onslaught, the internet was cut off to the vast, mostly-rural region, and numerous journalists, lawyers, bloggers, and political dissidents were arrested and prosecuted in closed courts. 

NGOs associated with civil society, as well as human rights defenders were also targeted and imprisoned with lengthy sentences. Among those caught up by Rahmon鈥檚 repressive apparatus were the well known journalist Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, and Manuchehr Kholiknazarov, Director of the Pamiri Lawyers Association. Other NGOs, such as the Independent Centre for Human Rights Protection have been forcibly closed by the government.

CIVICUS is of course not the only organization to take notice of Tajikistan鈥檚 inner turmoil. The International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), and many other groups continue the effort to draw international attention to the plight of the Tajik people. And while Tajikistan faces new challenges arising outside its borders鈥揻rom a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to potential economic disruptions arising from the Russia/Ukraine war, inside the country the greatest threat to society is its own ruling elite. 

More in Politics
PHOTO/Russian Foreign Ministry via REUTERS - El presidente de Argelia, Abdelmadjid Tebboune
On the evening of Monday 2 October, the Algerian media carried a communiqu茅 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcing, with great fanfare, that the head of Algerian diplomacy had succeeded in convincing the people of Niger to accept Algerian mediation in the crisis their country has been experiencing since the 26 July coup d'茅tat. Less than twenty-four hours later, Niamey reacted, inflicting a biting slap in the face on Algiers

A setback for Niger

Hocine Benhadid
Hocine Benhadid, one of the few general officers of integrity, died on Sunday 1 October at the age of 79. Algerians will remember him as the only general to have expressed aloud what many of his colleagues thought in silence, denouncing the regime and its workings. He was sent to prison twice for expressing his opinion in the columns of the national press

The only general to challenge established military order dies