The human rights situation in Tajikistan is dire. Since the early 1990s, the Pamiris in Tajikistan have been subject to a government crackdown that has only recently begun to be documented by international human rights organizations. The Pamiris are a Persian-speaking minority constituting less than 3% of Tajikistan’s population. They are racially and culturally distinct from the Tajik majority and are concentrated in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) in the east of the country. The Pamiris have been marginalized economically and socially by the Tajik government for decades, and the crackdown on their community has only exacerbated their plight.
The Tajik government has been carrying out a systematic campaign of repression against the Pamiri people, which has intensified in recent years. The Pamiris have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and other ill-treatment, as well as restrictions on their freedom of expression and movement. In addition to being denied access to education and health care, the Pamiris have been evicted from their homes. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues is raising the alarm to stop this escalation of violence.
The crackdown on the Pamiris by the Tajik government is part of a larger pattern of repression against minority groups in the country. In an effort to consolidate its power and quell dissent, the government has also targeted other minority groups, such as the Uzbek community. The human rights of the Pamiris have been gravely violated by the crackdown, which has had a devastating effect on their community. The international community has largely failed to respond to the Pamiris’ persecution. The United Nations and other international organizations have neither condemned the actions of the Tajik government nor provided assistance to the Pamiris. The international community must take additional steps to protect the Pamiris and hold the Tajik government accountable for its actions.
It is vital to acknowledge that the government’s campaign of repression against the Pamiris threatens Tajikistan’s stability; this conflict is damaging for everyone. The Pamiris are a peaceful, law-abiding population who pose no security risk to Tajikistan. The government of Tajikistan must halt its campaign of repression against the Pamiris and uphold their human rights. A possible solution to this issue would be for the Tajik government to engage in talks with the Pamiris’ representatives. The Tajik government must address the Pamiris’ legitimate issues and concerns in a constructive and peaceful manner. This seems hard right now because on November 25, 2021, Tajik security forces are said to have tortured and killed a young Pamiri minority representative named Gulbiddin Ziyobekov. For these reasons, the international community might also exert pressure on the Tajik government to stop its campaign of repression against the Pamiris : the priority is to focus on eradicating all types of violence. The international community has a duty to preserve the human rights of all individuals, and it must use its influence to ensure that the Tajik government respects the rights of the Pamiri minority. Emomali Rakhmon, the president of Tajikistan, has been creating a climate of fear for years, which makes journalists more likely to self-censor. Since June 2022, Tajikistan has been holding journalists Avazmad Gurbatov, Daler Imomali, Zavkibek Saidamini, and Abdusattor Pirmukhamadzoda on false extremist charges. Making people aware of this silent crackdown is a simple and effective way for everyone to support them.
The Pamiris’ human rights have been gravely violated by the crackdown, which has had a terrible effect on their community. The international community must do more to protect the Pamiris and hold the Tajik government accountable for its actions.