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EU Allocates More Than €1.8 Million for Democracy and Human Rights in Tajikistan

On April 17, the application process for grants from the Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights ends.

An official announcement on the launch of a new project by the EU delegation in Dushanbe on March 12 said that projects “to promote and protect human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms in Tajikistan” will be selected on a competitive basis.

Representatives of civil society can participate in the competition. The total budget of the competition was 1 million 855 thousand euros. Applicants can request a grant of €300,000 to €400,000 for a period of 24 to 36 months.

The launch of a new project to support democracy and human rights in Tajikistan comes at a time when civil society in the country is under pressure and restrictions like never before.

More than 700 NGOs have been closed under duress, court orders, or because of increasingly restricted freedoms in Tajikistan. Among the NGOs that have ceased their work, most of them were engaged in the promotion of rights and freedoms.

“Don’t protest against the president.” Pressure on the family of the opposition in Tajikistan

A group of opponents of the Tajik government in Europe said that the authorities have increased pressure on their relatives inside the country for three days.

The reason, according to them, was that “the president of the Republic of Tajikistan is likely to visit one of the European countries, and the representatives of the opposition should not hold demonstrations, raise slogans, and throw eggs against him.”

Tajik authorities have not yet announced the president’s visit abroad. Our efforts to get an official comment have so far been unsuccessful. The travel time is also not exact.

“The authorities demand the parents and other relatives of the Tajik opposition to force their children not to participate in any demonstrations or gatherings during Emomali Rahmon’s visit,” the statement of Paimon Milli, a coalition of four opposition organizations, said.

No official comment is available.

Officials of the National Alliance said on March 19 that such a threat has so far reached the relatives of Sharofiddin Gadoev, Salim Sultanzoda, Shohrajab Shohimi, Abdushukur Mannonov and other activists.

Sharofiddin Gadoev said that, in fact, his mother was called to the Department of Internal Affairs of Farkhor district two days ago. “They said there, tell your son not to protest against the president in Europe,” he said.

A similar situation happened on March 18 to the relatives of Shohrajab Shohimi, one of the representatives of the opposition, in the city of Panjakent. Shahimi says, “they even sent me a recording of my mother’s voice. In it, my mother scolded me and begged me not to join any group, not to protest.”

We also spoke with relatives of some of the opposition inside Tajikistan. They confirmed such conversations, but asked us not to publish their names and words in order not to cause difficulties in their work and life.

Meanwhile, representatives of the opposition in Europe claim that the authorities registered the house, car, land and other assets of their parents and “received a letter that if their children take part in demonstrations against Emomali Rahmon, they will confiscate everything.”

Mahmadzarif Saidov, a member of the Islamic Renaissance Banned Party in Tajikistan, says that on March 19, the authorities told his son to take the documents of the house to the security office of Dushanbe.

“Before that, the authorities took my parents, brother and eighteen-year-old son to the security office of Rudaki district and took a promise and a letter. My son asked me to promise in a video that I will not participate in the protests during the president’s visit. I did this in order not to put pressure on my parents. Saidov added.

In a statement on March 19, the National Alliance called the behavior of the Tajik authorities a “crime against humanity” and asked the government to “stop taking hostages of relatives and friends of political opponents.”

The President of the Republic of Tajikistan was in Germany in October 2023, when the opposition gathered against him, raised slogans and threw eggs at his car. This situation provoked the anger of the authorities and the relatives of some of the opponents were arrested and some were completely deprived of the use of electricity.

Human Rights Watch said in a report at that time that about 50 relatives of Berlin protesters were arrested in Tajikistan and some were released only after interrogation.

Source: RFEL