UN expert commends progress but calls for greater effort to ensure rights of minorities
19 October 2023
DUSHANBE (19 October 2023) – Despite progress and good initiatives recently adopted by the government of Tajikistan, much more needs to be done to implement and protect the human rights of religious and other minorities, a UN expert said today.
In a statement at the end of a 11-day mission, Fernand de Varennes, the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues said he was encouraged by the commitment and enthusiasm of many younger officials who seemed genuinely eager to improve the Government of Tajikistan’s efforts in relation to the implementation of its international human rights commitments.
“All too frequently I also encountered a lack of understanding as to what this entails, even to the point of outright hostility or denial,” the expert said. De Varennes expressed particular concern towards the Jughi (Roma) community, users of sign languages, Uzbeks, religious minorities and the Pamiri community in GBAO in several aspects, including their representation in the National Parliament, access to education in their mother tongue and freedom of religion.
He strongly recommended that the country continue efforts to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and urged the revision of legislation to include the Roma (Jughi) minority in the National Action Plan. Regarding violent events occurring in the GBAO region from November 2021, the Special Rapporteur called for an impartial and transparent investigation according to international standards and measures to prevent tensions and escalation of violence in the region.
“Responding to the grievances of the Pamiri minority is an important part of that de-escalation,” he said.
“Tajikistan has shown willingness to cooperate and engage with the international human rights mechanisms, but it has not been enough,” de Varennes said. “The recently adopted National Strategy on Human Rights and Action Plan, as well as the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Equality and Non-Discrimination are a good start but measures need to be taken to ensure the rights of minorities in the country,’’ he said.
The Special Rapporteur will present a full report on his visit to the Human Rights Council in March 2024.