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Retreating Rights: Examining the pressure on human rights in Tajikistan

Edited by Adam Hug

After almost 30 years of independence, Tajikistan finds itself in a very difficult place, combining extreme poverty with a system that brooks no dissent. Tajikistan’s descent into authoritarianism has taken place gradually but inexorably since the end of the Civil War in 1997 as the President has consolidated power into his own hands and those of his family and close associates, repressing dissent, no matter how minor, with often overwhelming force.

Tajikistan now finds itself close to the bottom of the global freedom rankings for political competition, civic space, media and religious freedom as the regime has effectively deployed its multi-track ‘suppress, acquiesce and incorporate’ approach to neutralise alternative voices with a widespread culture of self-censorship. There are real challenges deciding whether, when and how to engage with the country, which come with difficult trade-offs for those involved, where development and human rights imperatives do not always align in the short-term. This publication explores these challenges and the causes of them.

To see the full list of recommendations please download the publication.

This essay collection has been edited by Foreign Policy Centre Director Adam Hug. It contains essay contributions from: Dr Sebastien Peyrouse (George Washington University); Dr Parviz Mullojanov (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences Paris); Shoira Olimova (International Accountability Project); Xeniya Mironova (Independent scholar); Anne Sunder-Plassmann and Rachel Gasowski (International Partnership for Human Rights); Dr Oleg Antonov (Malmö University), Dr Edward Lemon (Texas A&M University) and Dr Parviz Mullojonov (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences Paris); Favziya Nazarova and Nigina Bakhrieva (Public Foundation Notabene); Dilbar Turakhanova (Independent consultant); and Larisa Alexandrova (Independent expert).

This is the second publication in the FPC’s Retreating Rights: Examining the pressure on human rights in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan series.

This report was launched with a webinar on Monday 17th May, with the following speakers: Dr Edward Lemon (Research Assistant Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service and Founder of the Oxus Society); Shoira Olimova (Community organiser and activist, International Accountability Project); Dr Parviz Mullojanov (Visiting researcher, School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences – EHESS [Paris]); and Dilbar Turakhanova (Independent consultant focused on gender equality issues). The event was chaired by Adam Hug (Director of the FPC). You can catch up with the audio from the event here and the video here.


Image by Kalpak Travel under (CC).

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