In July 2019, OMCT in the framework of the Observatory published a mission report on the shrinking civil society space in Takijistan, ahead of Tajikistan’s review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
The report, titled Their last stand? How human rights defenders are being squeezed out in Tajikistan, highlights how the regime of President Rahmon gradually eroded the freedom of association and expression of its critics, including human rights defenders. In particular, it outlines how the authorities have increasingly restricted the legal space for human rights organisations and independent lawyers to provide assistance to victims of human rights violations, including torture.
The report finds that amendments to, among others, the Law on Public Associations – allegedly introduced to combat money laundering, terrorism and financing of terrorism – severely restricted the ability of human rights defenders and others to set up and run civil society organisations without undue interference. At the same time various official bodies were handed tremendous powers to conduct frequent and intrusive inspections of NGOs.
Furthermore, journalists and lawyers have been criminally prosecuted for defending victims, including the 28 years jail sentence for prominent human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov.