United States Should Speak out on Crackdown in Tajikistan
In response to the government of Tajikistan’s decision to name the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) a terrorist organization, and the United States' silence about Tajikistan's widening crackdown on political dissent, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The government of Tajikistan has already arrested the top leaders of the IRPT and driven its chairman into exile. Naming it a terrorist organization now threatens its 40,000 members across the country with imprisonment," said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “The United States government has a close relationship with Tajikistan’s security services, providing more than $130 million just in counternarcotics assistance since 2007. Many of the recipients of that assistance are those that will now be hunting down the IRPT. That the United States has not yet spoken out against this crackdown is disgraceful.”
On September 29, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan classified the IRPT, Tajikistan’s largest opposition party, as a “terrorist” organization. The party was banned in August on the basis of spurious administrative violations.
After participating in mainstream Tajikistani politics since the end of the civil war in 1997, the IRPT lost its last two parliamentary seats in March 2015 in elections that the OSCE said were not administered impartially, lacked transparency, and disregarded basic counting procedures for the vote.
Tajikistan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.39 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2015.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.