UN, Special Rapporteur Examine Religious Freedom Issues in Tajikistan

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Berlin (24/10 – 67)

UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Nazila Ghanea, visited Tajikistan from April 11 to April 21 to conduct research on issues in this field. The UN expert will assess religious freedom and its interaction with the right to freedom of expression, discuss gender equality, women’s rights, and children’s rights.

She stated that the implementation of religious freedom and belief in the country is a cause for concern. Ghanea, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, called on Tajikistan to adapt and review its laws, policies, and practices regarding religion or belief following her 10-day visit.

Nazila Ghanea, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, called on Tajikistan to adapt and review its laws, policies, and practices regarding religion or belief. She pointed out that the boundaries of implementing freedom of religion or belief are far from international human rights standards.

During her visit, she met with government officials, representatives of religious or denominational communities, civil society organizations, and the UN. In addition to Dushanbe, she also visited Khorog and Khujand.

The Special Rapporteur’s observations will focus on promoting peaceful coexistence among religious communities and countering extremism and terrorism in Tajikistan.

Following the visit, Ghanea will present her observations at a press conference at the UN representation in Dushanbe on April 21st, with limited access approved only for journalists.

A preliminary assessment of the visit will be presented at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2024. In July 2022, the Human Rights Council appointed Dr. Nazila Ghanea from Iran as the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. She began her duties on August 1, 2022.

Ghanea is a professor of international law and has conducted research in the field of human rights, serving as a consultant to various agencies in this area.

Special Rapporteurs are part of the so-called special procedures of the Human Rights Council. They examine situations in specific countries or thematic issues worldwide. These experts operate on a mandate based on principles of impartiality and do not work as UN employees, nor do they receive compensation for their work. They are independent of any government or organization.

Tajikistan on the “Blacklist” Tajikistan is included in the U.S. Department of State’s “blacklist,” which lists countries with violations of religious freedoms. Reports state, among other things, that “persistent, continuous, and unacceptable violations of religious rights in the country” cause serious concern for the State Department.

Tajikistan disagrees with the criticism from the U.S. Department of State, with official statements consistently asserting that all religious rights are upheld in the country, and foreign assessments of the state of religious rights are “biased and inaccurate.”

The last time a UN Special Rapporteur on religious matters, Asma Jahangir, visited the country was in 2007. After her visit, she expressed concerns about the situation of religious minorities in Tajikistan and the status of Tajik women’s rights, which are violated due to traditions.

Source : Asia Plus