The US State Department has called Tajikistan an authoritarian state ruled by the same man, Emomali Rahmon, since 1992.
The U.S. State Department’s Global Human Rights Report 2022, released on March 20, notes that the Tajik constitution guarantees a multi-party system in the country, but the authorities hinder political pluralism.
The authors of the annual report, in particular, write that Rustami Emomali, the mayor of Dushanbe and the eldest son of President Rahmon, headed the upper house of the Tajik parliament in April 2020, and thus became the second person in the country and the heir to his father’s “throne”.
“Parliamentary and presidential elections in 2020 were neither free nor fair… All law enforcement agencies and the Customs Service report directly to the president. According to the data received, state security officers commit numerous illegal acts, ”the State Department report says.
The reaction of the Tajik authorities to the annual report of the US Foreign Ministry has not yet followed. Earlier, Dushanbe stated that the reports of the US State Department on human rights “do not trace an objective analysis of the current state of affairs with human rights in Tajikistan,” and the document itself “is politicized.” The Tajik authorities also claimed that the authors “rely mainly on information from interested sources, which calls into question the reliability of the published data.”
Tajik officials attribute Emomali Rahmon’s political longevity to the fact that he allegedly won every presidential election. However, according to international observers, none of the elections were democratic, transparent, and did not meet international standards. Recall that only the authorities of Tajikistan and observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States called the parliamentary and presidential elections held in 2020 democratic, stating that there were no violations in them.
The US State Department in its annual report notes other human rights violations in Tajikistan –
- spontaneous arrests and killings;
- torture and ill-treatment;
- unbearable conditions in prisons;
- arrests for political reasons;
- severe restrictions on freedom of speech and religious freedoms;
- threats to journalists;
- the inability of the population to change the government in the country through elections;
- corruption in state institutions;
- harassment of local and international human rights organizations;
- use of child labor.
The US State Department criticizes the Tajik authorities for not taking steps to punish officials for corruption and human rights violations.
The State Department has been preparing annual reports for almost 50 years in collaboration with local and international statistical and human rights organizations. Information from different countries is considered for compliance with international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN. Reports on the observance of human rights in the United States itself are not contained in the report.
Tajikistan has been repeatedly criticized by international human rights organizations over the past year for persistent human rights violations and suppression of dissent. Last week, the international non-governmental organization CIVICUS in its annual report called Tajikistan a “closed” country along with Turkmenistan, China, Syria and some other African and Asian states. This is the worst assessment of Tajikistan by CIVICUS, which assesses the state of civil society and civil rights in the world.