NEWS

UN secretary-general visits Tajikistan

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon discussed the human rights situation in the Central Asian country on June 12 in Dushanbe, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.

Guterres told journalists after the talks that the UN will help Tajikistan implement recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council.

The Tajik presidential press service said that during the talks, Guterres highly appreciated the role of Tajikistan and its leader Emomali Rahmon in addressing issues related to water in the region and the world, as well as great international initiatives covering water and ecological issues.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement on June 7 urging Guterres to “push Central Asian leaders for specific improvements, including ending torture and the crackdowns on demonstrations and freedom of expression”.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ trip to Central Asia is a major opportunity for the UN to mark its concern at the highest level over the worrying state of human rights in the region, Human Rights Watch said.

“With such a catalogue of rights violations, human rights should be high on the secretary-general’s agenda,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “We look forward to him using his first visit to the region to urge the presidents to do what’s called for under international law and UN treaties their governments have signed, release those wrongly behind bars, allow rights groups and reporters to do their work, and end impunity for torture.”

“The secretary-general’s stop in Tajikistan comes amid the worst crackdown on human rights in 20 years. The government banned the main opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) in 2015, and has imprisoned more than 150 activists and lawyers on fabricated charges. Guterres should call on the government to end this downward spiral of abuses. He should press the Tajik authorities to release immediately and unconditionally the imprisoned activists and lawyers, including Buzurgmehr Yorov, Nuriddin Makhkamov, and Shukhrat Kudratov, and end the violent retaliation against relatives of government critics living abroad,” Human Rights Watch said.