ARTICLE 19, English PEN and PEN International welcome the opportunity to contribute to the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Tajikistan. The submission focuses on Tajikistan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations in respect to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly since the last UPR review in 2011.
During its first review, Tajikistan accepted all six recommendations it received relating to freedom of expression. We acknowledge positive reforms to legislation in Tajikistan since the first review, including the decriminalisation of two defamation and insult provisions and the adoption of a law on the print press and other mass media, which is widely considered as more compliant with international human rights standards than its predecessor.
However, despite positive legislative changes, in practice the situation regarding freedom of expression has not improved.
The submission addresses the following threats to freedom of expression:
Legal harassment of journalists and mass media, including the retention of criminal provisions for defamation and insult and the abuse of civil defamation lawsuits
- Access to information;
- Blocking access to the Internet;
- Potential threats to freedom of expression in the run up to digital switch over in Tajikistan;
- Restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly.