Speech of Saidali Ashurov at the OSCE conference

Freedom of peaceful assembly and association

Ladies and Gentlemen’s

Freedom of peaceful assembly and association is milestone of democracy in a democratic country. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association theoretically protected under the articles 28, 29, 30 and 31 of the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan. Conversely, Dictatorial regime of Tajikistan, which is rules by Emamali Rahmonov and his family since 27 years, neglected the above articles of Constitution and treats the citizens by the following criminal codes: Article 160, 161, 188 and 237 of the Republic of Tajikistan. It means, Freedom of peaceful assembly and association already crack downed by the regime in the country for decade of years.

The regime has displayed growing hostility toward the country’s civil society in recent years. Dictator Emamali Rahmonov continue pressures on Civil Social and Non-Commercial Organizations by additional administrative burdens through 2019 amendments to the law of public associations. On January 2, 2019, Rahmonov signed into law amendments to the Law on Public Associations introducing a number of additional administrative burdens on public associations, such: 1.Annually publishing financial report, 2. having own websites for publishing financial reports, 3. “to store information on completed domestic and international transactions for at least five years after the end of the business relationship” and “store and submit to the registering authority information on the identity of persons, controlling or managing the activities of a public association, including founders, members of governing and controlling bodies”.

The additional administrative burdens are unsatisfactorily clear and are moreover pointless. The only way for describing idea and opinions is social sites, messengers and independent news agencies. But, the regime always trying to limit the freedom of expressions by compelling on communicational companies. Such: increasing taxes and doubling the internet and calling rates via NGN and similar services introduced by Tajikistan operating systems and put significant pressure on civil society actors, narrowing the space for civil society organizations and peaceful demonstrations in the country. This decision was taken by the Rahmonov’s authorities after regularly and arbitrary blocking access to the internet resources and many social sites for many times, which criticized by various international human rights organizations and called the regime to immediate end blocking independent news sites and access to internet.

In May 2019, the parliament passed a new legislation and signed by Rahmonov that grants the authorities wide powers to limit freedom of expressions in time of martial law, including by taking control of communications and publishing systems, and imposing censorship on media and communications. This legislation was criticized by the UN Human Rights Committee and other human rights organization. During last eight months there were three incidents in the country which left more than 100 prisoners murders. The regime forced the relatives to not contact with any journalists to express their thoughts about the incidents and their families. Since accepting a new law on Non Commercial Organization by the Ministry of Justice in 2015, the NGO’s are under pressures of different authorities of the regime such: Tax Committee, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and State Security Committee. The NGOs asked from the authorities to reform the law to continue their activities, but there was no any positive respond. The new law is not equal to the International standard and still remain unclear. The Ministry also refused to join representatives of the NGO’s in the new working group and finally called the NGO’s emissary of foreign countries.

These amendments introduced new reporting obligations for public associations and charged the Ministry of Justice, which oversees the work of such organizations, with informing relevant authorities about any suspicion that an organization may be used as a cover for the financing of terrorism or extremist activities. Civil Society Organizations working on human rights issues have recently faced growing pressure in Tajikistan and some organization have been forced to close down. This is a sample brief about the Freedom of peaceful assembly and association in Tajikistan. As a political and social society activist asking from the human rights organization and democratic institutions to not be silent on violating human rights in Tajikistan. And finally, I’d like to ask from democratic institution and counties to have clear position against dictatorial regime and avoid human catastrophes.