Retreating rights

This report from UK think tank the Foreign Policy Centre examines the pressure on human rights in Tajikistan.

After almost 30 years of independence, Tajikistan finds itself in a very difficult place, combining extreme poverty with a system that brooks no dissent. Tajikistan’s descent into authoritarianism has taken place gradually but inexorably since the end of the Civil War in 1997 as the President has consolidated power into his own hands and those of his family and close associates, repressing dissent, no matter how minor, with often overwhelming force. Tajikistan now finds itself close to the bottom of the global freedom rankings for political competition, civic space, media and religious freedom as the regime has effectively deployed its multi-track ‘suppress, acquiesce and incorporate’ approach to neutralise alternative voices with a widespread culture of self-censorship. There are real challenges deciding whether, when and how to engage with the country, which come with difficult trade-offs for those involved, where development and human rights imperatives do not always align in the short-term. This publication explores these challenges and the causes of them.

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