Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

Buzurgmehr Foundation’s Letter to  the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Ms. Mary Lawlor,
United Nations Special Rapporteur
on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Dear Ms. Mary Lawlor,
Buzurgmehr Foundation welcomes your official visit to Tajikistan to assess the situation of human rights defenders in the country, which will last until 9 December 2022. We hope that your high-ranking visit and assessment of the real human rights situation in our country will help you draw up conclusions and recommendations for the UN Human Rights Council.

Modern-day Tajikistan is a country with an authoritarian government, where all spheres of society are strictly controlled by the authorities. In the country, de facto there is no actual civil society capable of protecting the interests of citizens from government interference.
Although official Dushanbe declares country’s adherence to international norms, such as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants and conventions, in fact the situation in the country is very deplorable. There are no independent courts in the country, lawyers are under strict control of the government, there is no freedom of speech and religion, and so on.

The last year events in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, when the authorities violently suppressed protests, which resulted in numerous casualties, arrests and long-term imprisonment of civil society activists native to this region, and also, abduction of dozens of Badakhshani activists in Russia and their deportation to Tajikistan, closed court proceedings held in secret, pressure on their lawyers and many other violations of international law proves the abovementioned.

In the past year alone, nearly 10 journalists, who covered socially significant events in Tajikistan, were arrested on bogus charges.

Our Foundation would like to draw your attention to the situation with political prisoners in Tajikistan.

At the moment, the authorities are preparing to show the public an allegedly uncovered conspiracy among political prisoners to organise prison riots. The Prosecutor’s Office of the country is already collecting “evidence”, using torture against prisoners.
We would like to draw your special attention to the situation with Buzurgmekhr Yorov, the political prisoner, lawyer and human rights activist, who was transferred to a strict regime penal colony in Dushanbe. The authorities want to accuse him and other political prisoners of organizing riots in the country’s prisons. Now, using blackmail, threats, and torture, they are actively taking the necessary testimonies from prisoners of the Vahdat prison.

Buzurgmehr Foundation is prepared to provide you with all assistance in our power for you to fully understand the human rights situation in Tajikistan. For that reason, we are ready to share with you every the information we have.

At the end of our letter, we would like to advise you to hold a meeting with relatives of political prisoners for better assessment of the real human rights situation in the country, but without the participation of representatives of the authorities, also, to meet with representatives of the lawyers and other institutions of civil society in the same way.
We assure you that the information provided by government officials is false and unverifiable.

If possible, we would like to ask you to pay a visit to the prisons in Dushanbe and Vahdat, talk to political prisoners about the conditions of their detention, food, medical care, etc. We are sure that the information they can provide you will be very useful for drawing up recommendations and conclusions about your visit to Tajikistan.

We thank you in advance for your attention on this matter and remain at your disposal should you require further information.

Sincerely yours,
Buzurgmehr Foundation

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