Last updated 17 January 2024


Civil society constitutes one of the most dynamically developing sectors in Tajikistan today. Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Tajikistan are engaged in a wide range of activities, including humanitarian and charitable work; the protection of the marginalized and vulnerable; the defense of human rights; and support for stability, peace and the process of democratization. The impact of civil society on Tajikistan has increased as the number, scope and reach of CSOs have grown steadily.

CSOs – registered as non-commercial organization (NCOs) – first emerged during the social transformations of the 1980s and increased in number during the 1990s. Since 1997, Tajikistan has taken a number of important steps to ensure a more secure legal space for NCOs. In 1997, there were 300 CSOs formally registered in Tajikistan; by 2006 the number had grown to more than 2,700. After adoption of the new Law on Public Associations in 2007, which required all existing NCOs to undergo re-registration or face termination, the number of NCOs decreased. Currently, the number of NCOs in Tajikistan is about 3000:  2,773 of them are Public Associations, which are registered with the Ministry of Justice; and the rest are Public Foundations and Associations (unions) of Legal Entities.

On May 19, 2009, the President signed the new Law on State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs. The Law envisions two channels of state registration for NCOs. Public associations are registered with the Ministry of Justice, in accordance with the Law on Public Associations. Other NCOs (public foundations, institutes, etc.) are registered with the local tax authorities. Registration with the local tax authorities is both simpler and subject to less discretion than registration with the Ministry of Justice. Indeed, requiring public associations (and political parties) to undergo the complex registration procedure with the Ministry distinguishes these legal entity forms from all other legal entities, including both for-profit businesses and all other types of NCOs.

In 2014, the Parliament adopted new amendments to the Law on Meetings, Rallies, Demonstrations and Marches, which restrict foreign citizens from participating at meetings, rallies, demonstrations and marches. Article 4 of the Law, which gave to foreign citizens and stateless persons an equal right to participate in meetings, rallies and demonstrations, was omitted from the amended law. At the same time as these restrictions on assembly were introduced, new amendments to the Law on State Fees were also adopted by the Parliament. The fee for registration of branches and representative offices of foreign NCOs was increased from 5 indexes for calculation (290 TJS=30 USD) to 100 indicators for calculation (6400 TJS=570 USD), which significantly increased the cost of registration and burdened smaller NCOs.

The Law on Public Associations was amended in 2015, and again in 2019 and 2021. The 2015 amendments require public associations (PA)s to notify the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) about grants and other aid received from foreign sources. The 2019 amendments include restrictive provisions that require PAs to post their financial information on websites, which is expensive and time-consuming and potentially dangerous if personally or financially sensitive data must be shared. The 2021 changes amend Article 39 part 5, which addresses the activities of foreign CSOs, including their branches and representative offices operating in Tajikistan. The Law now requires that the staff members of foreign CSOs be “registered” with the MFA. The details of the new registration procedures will be outlined in a separate implementing regulation. It remains to be seen how the new registration procedures will affect foreign CSOs.

On July 4, 2020, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan signed into law amendments to the Code of the Republic of Tajikistan on Administrative Offenses (CoAO), which are of particular concern to CSOs.

These restrictive initiatives underscore the fact that the legal environment for civil society in Tajikistan is not fully enabling and faces ongoing challenges and threats.

In July 2022, Tajikistan enacted its first ever Law on Non-Discrimination.  The law prohibits both government and private citizens from discriminating against individuals on enumerated grounds.  The law also gives public organizations the right to represent victims and work with government to monitor the law. Tajikistan is in the process of harmonizing legislation with the new law and conducting awareness raising and other activities to implement the law.

Organizational Forms Non-commercial organizations (NCOs), public associations (PAs)
Registration Body Tax Committee and Ministry of Justice

For some NCOs, the registration body is the Tax Committee. For public associations, religious organizations and political parties, the registration body is the Ministry of Justice

Approximate Number Official statistics on the number of registered NCOs are difficult to obtain, but the number has been decreasing since 2020.  The pandemic impacted funding for NCOs, and there has been pressure from government on public associations to close.  More than 90% of NCOs are Public Associations, which are registered with the Ministry of Justice; the rest are Public Foundations and Associations (unions) of Legal Entities that register with other state bodies.
Barriers to Entry Certain persons, including foreign persons and stateless persons, may not become founders, members, or participants of NCOs, if they don’t have residence permits. Registration procedures for public associations are overly bureaucratic, with excessive documentation requirements.
Barriers to Activities First, the Law categorizes public associations by territorial range of activity. This territorial principle consequently restricts the operation activities of local public associations outside the region where they are registered. Second, the Law authorizes governmental authorities to engage in highly intrusive means of supervision of public associations.
Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy No legal barriers, provided that NCOs act in compliance with by-laws and Tajik legislation.
Barriers to International Contact No legal barriers.
Barriers to Resources Amendments to the Law on Public Associations (PAs) require PAs to notify the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) about grants and other aid received from foreign sources.
Barriers to Assembly 15 days advance notification requirement and long list of sites where assemblies are not permitted; foreigners and stateless persons are not allowed to participate in assemblies, marches, and demonstrations
Population 9,245,937 (2023 est.)
Capital Dushanbe
Type of Government Republic
Life Expectancy at Birth Total population: 69.66 years
Male: 66.49 years
Female: 72.99 years (2023 est.)
Literacy Rate Total population: 99.8%
Male: 99.8%
Female: 99.7% (2015)
Religious Groups Muslim 98% (Sunni 95%, Shia 3%), other 2% (2014 est.)
Ethnic Groups Tajik 84.3% (includes Pamiri and Yagnobi), Uzbek 13.8%, other 2% (includes Kyrgyz, Russian, Turkmen, Tatar, Arab) (2014 est.)
GDP Per Capita $3,900 (2021 est.)

Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency.

Ranking Body Rank Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
UN Human Development Index 122 (2022) 1 – 191
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 150 (2022) 1 180
Freedom House: Freedom in the World Status: Not Free
Political Rights: 0
Civil Liberties: 8 (2022)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 40
1 – 60
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index 70 (2022) 179 – 1

Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency.

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International Agreements Ratification* Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Yes 1999
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1) Yes 1999
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Yes 1999
Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR) Yes 1993
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Yes 1995
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Yes 1993
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Yes 2000
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Yes 1993
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) Yes 2003
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) No
Key Regional Agreements Ratification* Year
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Yes 2003
Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty

Constitutional Framework

The Constitution of Tajikistan was adopted on November 6, 1994 (and amended June 22, 2003 and May 22, 2016).

Relevant provisions include:

  • Article 5. Life, honor, dignity, and other natural human rights are inviolable. The rights and liberties of the person and citizen are recognized, observed and protected by the state.
  • Article 8. In Tajikistan, social life develops on the basis of political and ideological pluralism. No state ideology or religion may be established. Social associations are formed and operate within the framework of the Constitution and laws. The state provides them with equal possibilities in their operations. Religious associations are separate from the state and may not interfere in governmental affairs. The formation and operation of social associations and social associations that advocate racial, ethnic, social or religious animosity or which incite violent overthrow of the constitutional system, as well as the organization of armed groups, are forbidden. No foreign political party may operate in Tajikistan, parties of an ethnic or religious nature are prohibited, and no political party can be financed by any foreign states or organizations, foreign legal entities, or foreign citizens.
  • Article 10. The Constitution of Tajikistan possesses supreme legal power, and its norms have direct application. Laws and other legal acts that are contrary to the Constitution do not have legal force. The government and all its organs, officials, citizens, and citizens’ associations are obligated to comply with and execute the Constitution and laws of the republic. International legal acts recognized by Tajikistan are a constituent part of the legal system of the republic. In the case of a discrepancy between the laws of the republic and recognized international legal acts, the norms of the international acts are applied. Laws and international legal acts recognized by Tajikistan enter into force after their official publication.
  • Article 14. The rights and freedoms of the person and the citizen are regulated and protected by the Constitution and laws of the republic, as well as by international legal acts recognized by Tajikistan. Limitations of the rights and freedoms of citizens are only allowed for the purposes of ensuring the rights and freedoms of other citizens, ensuring social order, and protecting the fundamentals of the constitutional system, national security, national defense, public morals, public health, and territorial integrity of the republic.
  • Article 28. Citizens have the right of association. Each citizen has the right to participate in the formation of political parties, trade unions, and other social associations, as well as voluntarily to join them and resign from them. Political parties help to shape and express the will of people based on political pluralism and participation in political life. Their structure and activities shall conform to democratic norms.
  • Article 29. Each citizen has the right to participate in lawfully established meetings, protests, demonstrations, and peaceful marches. No one may be forced to participate in these activities.
  • Article 30. Each person is guaranteed the freedoms of speech and the press, as well as the right to use information media. Governmental censorship and prosecution for criticism is prohibited. The list of information constituting a state secret is specified by law.

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

  1. Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:
    1. Constitution of Tajikistan (November 6, 1994, as amended on June 22, 2003 and May 22, 2016);
    2. Civil Code
    3. Labor Code of Tajikistan;
    4. Code of Tajikistan;
    5. Code on Administrative Offenses (CoAO);
    6. Law “On Political Parties”;
    7. Law “On Public Initiative Bodies”;
    8. Law “On State Social Contracting”;
    9. Law of Tajikistan “On Public Associations”;
    10. Law “On Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs”;
    11. Law “On State Fees”;
    12. Law “On Freedom of Conciseness and Religious Associations”;
    13. Law “On Trade Unions”;
    14. Law “On Self-Governance Bodies in Towns and Villages”;
    15. Law on Volunteer Activity in Tajikistan;
    16. Law on Association of Water Users;
    17. Law on Anti-Corruption;
    18. Law on Countering Extremism;
    19. Law on preventing and counteracting to legalization (laundering) of the proceeds of crime, terrorist financing, and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
    20. Law on State Services;
    21. Law on Assemblies, Meetings, Demonstrations and Marches;
    22. Regulation on Humanitarian Aid (August 8, 2015);
    23. Regulation on Auditing of the Charter Activity of CSOs by Ministry of Justice (January 10, 2016)
    24. Tax Code (2022)
    25. Law on Equality and the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (2022)
    26. Law Of The Republic Of Tajikistan On Access To Information On The Activities Of Courts (2021)
    27. Law on Charitable Activity (updated 2022)
    28. Law on State guarantees of equal rights for men and women and equal opportunities for their implementation

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

  1. Now that a new Civil Code has been adopted, work on the draft law on Non Commercial Organizations is expected to resume now. The FATF working group continues to work on FATF recommendations from the 2018 Mutual Evaluation Report (and subsequent reports from 2021 and 2022) that ranked Tajikistan as partially compliant with FATF’s Recommendation No. 8 on non-profit organizations, but there is no information on changes to the Law on Public Associations or work a new draft law on Non Commercial Organizations.
  2. Upon recommendation from CSOs, the MoJ included the development of a new Law on Public Councils into its legislative plan for 2020. The new law aims to improve public oversight over the activities of state bodies. The draft law’s working group includes representatives of the MoJ, the President’s Apparatus, the Center for Legislation, CSOs, and university law professors. In general, the draft law contains detailed procedures and regulations related to public councils (PCs), taking the positive experience of neighboring countries into account, while offering improvements such as composing PCs exclusively from representatives of civil society. However, the draft law contained several shortcomings which, if not addressed, would severely limit PCs’ effectiveness. For instance, the draft law lacked necessary implementing mechanisms for meaningful public oversight of the activities of government bodies, including the oversight over the use of budgetary funds by government bodies. Moreover, the draft law lacked a transparent procedure for the selection of PCs’ members and regulation of PCs’ financing, among other deficiencies. During most of 2021, CSOs continued analyzing the updated draft law and provided numerous recommendations
  3. The draft concept for Social Entrepreneurship, which CSOs developed in 2020 to provide opportunities for CSOs to improve their financial sustainability and access to local resources, is currently under review by relevant ministries.  The State Committee on Investment is currently in charge of the draft, but the timeline for its adoption remains unclear.
  4. A CSO/government working group continued its work on the draft National Strategy for Human Rights until 2030. On April 7, 2021, CSOs conducted public consultations to discuss the draft National Strategy and the Work Plan for 2021-2023, which were developed based on proposals from state bodies and CSOs. During the discussion, CSOs presented, among other things, their new recommendations on the draft: 1) Include provisions guaranteeing the involvement of interested CSOs, citizens, and other parties in the discussion of draft laws affecting the right to freedom of association; 2) Adopt new legislation to support CSOs’ activities, such as amendments to the Law on public self-initiative bodies and Law on state social contracting; and 3) Emphasize citizen participation and oversight over the activities of state bodies, including the CSOs’ engagement in e-government. The National Strategy and work plan have been finalized are under parliament’s consideration.

Organizational Forms

The Civil Code of Tajikistan defines non-commercial organizations (NCOs) as legal entities that do not seek to generate profit as their primary objective and do not distribute any profit among their members, founders or participants. The Civil Code (CC) recognizes a large number of organizational forms of NCOs: consumer cooperatives, public or religious organizations (associations), public foundations, institutions, and associations of legal persons (associations and unions).

The available forms of NCOs are defined as follows:

(1) A consumer cooperative is a voluntary membership association of citizens, established with the purpose of satisfying the material (proprietary) needs of its members, and realized through the unification of property (share) contributions by its members. (Article 128 of CC)

(2) A public or religious organization (association) is a voluntary association of citizens, established for the purpose of satisfying spiritual or other non-material needs. (Article 129 of CC)

The Law on Public Associations (PA) further defines and categorizes public associations into three groups:

  1. A public organization is, as a rule, a membership-based organization founded by citizens to pursue common activities and protect common interests in order to attain the statutory goals. (Article 8 of Law on PA)
  2. A public movement is a mass public association, which consists of participants and is not membership-based, which pursues social and other public benefit goals supported by the participants of the public movement. (Article 9 of the Law on PA)
  3. A body of public initiative is a public association, which is not membership-based, and aims jointly to address various social issues facing citizens at their place of residence and to implement programs in the locality where it was established. (Article 10 of the Law on PA)

(3) A public foundation is a non-commercial non-membership organization, founded by citizens or legal persons on the basis of voluntary property contributions, and pursuing social, charitable, cultural, educational or other public benefit purposes. (Article 130 of CC)

In addition, the Law on Microfinance Organizations establishes the micro-lending fund, which is a non-commercial microfinance organization operating with a certificate issued by the National Bank of Tajikistan and engaged in providing micro-loans and other services.

(4) An institution is an organization created by the owner for conducting administrative, cultural, social, or other non-commercial functions and financed by the owner in whole or in part. (Article 132 of CC)

(5) Commercial and non-commercial organizations can create a union of legal entities (association and union). Commercial organizations can create a non-commercial association (union) to coordinate their commercial activities and represent and defend their common property interests. Public and other organizations including institutions can create non-commercial associations (unions) of these organizations. (Article 133 of CC)

Of the more than 3,000 NCOs currently registered in Tajikistan, approximately 80% are public associations.

Public Benefit Status

The Tax Code does not define charitable activity. It instead refers to the Law on Charitable Activity for a definition of charitable activity (Article 15 of the Tax Code). According to article 15 of the Tax Code, “for tax purposes, rendering any assistance shall not be considered charitable activity, provided that one of the following conditions are met:

  1. a recipient of the assistance assumes the property or non-property liability (other than commitment to use the received funds as intended) in front of a person rendering such assistance;
  2. a recipient of such assistance and a person rendering such assistance are considered to be interrelated persons.”

The Law on Charitable Activity defines the charitable activity as “the voluntary activity of individuals and legal entities aiming to provide material or other type of assistance (support), including those in the form of selfless (gratuitous or the one on preferential terms) transfer to individuals in need of such assistance or to legal entities, directly providing such assistance, including transfer of property, money to charitable organizations, altruistic performance of work, provision of services, or scientific, educational, enlightenment or other activities carried out in the public interest” for the following categories of beneficiaries:

  1. physical persons with low income or physical persons who need social adaptation and social protection;
  2. orphans, pre-school and other children’s institutions, as well as organizations providing care for such children;
  3. disabled or the elderly, and organizations providing care to them;
  4. physical persons who need medical support or special care, in the form of payment for medical or related services (including travel for such services), or other organizations having the status of medical institutions;
  5. educational institutions, including distribution of grants;
  6. institutions of science, culture and art;
  7. development of individual’s talents;
  8. protection of population and nature from pollution and other harmful effects; or
  9. prison facilities, if such activity is aimed at improving the conditions of maintenance or medical service of prisoners.

The Law on Charitable Activity separately defines charitable organizations as non-governmental, non-profit organizations, established in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan, and created for realization of charitable aims and carrying out activities for the public good or for a certain category of persons, as their main activity (Article 6).

In terms of potential benefits of charitable status, the Government may provide material and financial support to youth organizations, children’s organizations, charitable organizations and organizations of the disabled; may provide favorable tax policy; may give children’s organizations the right to use school buildings, non-scholastic establishments, clubs, palaces and houses of culture, sports facilities and other structures, free of charge or on favorable terms. Significantly, however, no tax privileges are provided for charitable organizations in Tajikistan.

The new Tax Code includes a provisions that all contradictions in the Tax Code should be resolved in favor of the taxpayers. It also and establishes that new provisions that would worsen the positions of taxpayers and/or establish new liability for tax offenses do not have retroactive effect. It also keeps existing charitable benefits, specifies tax deductions for charitable payments, describes in more detail the types of organizations that can provide grants in Tajikistan, details the types of non-taxable gratuitous transfers, and modifies the definition of entrepreneurial activity. Unfortunately, the new Tax Code accommodates no significant amendments to CSO taxation. Tax legislation in Tajikistan still does not provide adequate incentives for most CSOs to carry out fee-for-service activities that might create a sustainable local funding stream, nor does it help enable individual and corporate support for CSOs.

Barriers to Entry

Citizens aged 18 or older may become founders, members or participants in public associations, unless otherwise provided by this Law. Citizens aged 14 or older may become members or participants in youth public associations. Citizens aged 8 or older may become members or participants in children’s public associations.

Foreign nationals and stateless persons may be founders, members, or participants in public associations or NCOs, provided they are legally domiciled or have permanent residence in the Republic of Tajikistan.

Founders or members or participants in public associations may not include:

  • Government agencies (except for the case stipulated in Article 11 of this Law);
  • Persons whose connections with terrorist, extremist or separatist organizations have been proven in a court of law.

Currently, the Law on State Fees requires local public associations to pay 340 TJS (approx. $32) at the time of registration. National public associations must pay 680 TJS (approx. $64), and international public associations must pay 6,800 TJS (approx. $567).

The registration process for public associations is overly bureaucratic, with a long list of documents required to be submitted to the Ministry of Justice. The same is true for foreign NGOs seeking to establish a branch office. Other types of NCOs, by contrast, including public foundations and institutions, are registered under the tax authorities based on the Law on the State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs, which provides a simplified registration process at a one-stop window.

Barriers to Operational Activity

The Law on Public Associations (PA) includes a number of barriers to operational activity.

For example, according to Article 12, PAs are categorized by, and therefore limited to, a defined territorial range of activity. An international PA operates within Tajikistan and one or several foreign states, while a national PA may carry out its activities within Tajikistan and alocal PA operates within an administrative area such as region (oblast), city or district. This territorial principle consequently restricts the operational activities of local PAs outside the region where they are registered.

In addition, the Law authorizes governmental authorities to engage in highly intrusive means of supervision of PAs, including the following:

-The power to summon resolutions of the organization’s governing body. The Ministry of Justice has the ability to demand documents relating to the details of an organization’s governance, including day-to-day policy decisions and supervision of the organization’s management.

– The power to send representatives to an organization’s events. The Law allows the Ministry to send a representative to all of an organization’s events, without restriction, including internal strategy sessions and grant selection meetings, for example.

On December 25, 2018, the parliament adopted amendments to the Law that were signed by the President on January 2, 2019. The key amendments were the following:

– PAs are required to post “financial reports, containing detailed information about incomes and expenditures.” With civil society input, the MoJ created a specific form that outlines the information required.

– PAs are required to either have their own websites or post their information on the MoJ website.

– PAs are required to “store information on internal and international transactions, for a five-year period after completion of such transactions” and “information on the purposes and goals of activities and on the certification of persons, who have the right to possess, control, or manage their activities, including information on implementors, members of the board, as well as trusted/ authorized  persons, and to provide such information to the registration body.” These additional requirements are extremely vague and broad, potentially creating an additional administrative burden on PAs. The amendments also include neither the specific requirements for retaining such information, nor which government body shall develop the implementing regulation that establishes the requirements.

On June 25, 2021, the President signed new amendments to the Law on Public Associations (PAs). Article 39 part 5, which addresses the activities of foreign CSOs, including their branches and representative offices operating in Tajikistan, was amended to require that the staff members of such organizations to be “registered” with the MFA. Formerly, the foreign CSOs’ staff had to be “accredited” with the MFA.  The details of the new registration procedures will be outlined in a separate implementing regulation. It remains to be seen how the new registration procedures will affect foreign CSOs. An MFA representative confirmed that local staff will have to obtain registration, rather than accreditation.

Since political tensions in GBAO have increased throughout 2022 and 2023, human rights defenders (HRDs) have been questioned by security services, and journalists and HRDs have been arrested in connection with protest activities in GBAO. Some have been given long prison sentences.

The Ministry of Justice, prosecutor’s office, labor regulator and Tax Committee are all conducting inspections of not only human rights NCOs, but also NCOs working on development, environmental, and social issues. Some NCOs have reported that the Tax Committee presented them with a letter from the State Committee on National Security requesting that the Tax Committee inspect certain NCOs. According to information that NCOs received unofficially from the Tax Committee, some international NCOs are also on the list of NCOs to be inspected.

Nevertheless, the most important change affecting civil society occurred on January 2, 2020, when the President of the Republic of Tajikistan signed into law amendments to the Code of the Republic of Tajikistan on Administrative Offenses (CoAO) (amendments). Amendments of particular concern to civil society organizations (CSOs) include:

  1. The penalty for managing the activities of public and religious associations that are unregistered, suspended, or prohibited by law is increased four-fold, from 50 to 200 estimate indices (from January 1, 2023, one estimate index is equal to 68 Tajikistan somoni, or approximately $6), up to approximately $1,200. Participation in the activities of such associations is now punishable by a penalty of up to 100 estimate indices (approximately $600) instead of the previously applied penalty of seven estimate indices (approximately $42).
  2. The penalty for funding the activities of illegal public or religious organizations for individuals is now 50 estimate indices (approximately $300 instead of $72, as it was previously), for officials – 200 estimate indices (or $1,200 instead of $300, as it was previously), and for legal entities – 1,000 estimate indices (or $6,000 instead of $1,800, as it was previously).

The amendments to CoAO have also substantially increased the penalties for the following offenses:

  • financing of political parties by foreign citizens and international organizations;
  • implementation of religious activities by foreign organizations and citizens without registration;
  • religious communities’ establishment of international relations with foreign organizations;
  • non-compliance with requirements of legislation on combating the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism.

Unfortunately, the Government never discussed these amendments with civil society. CSOs learned about them only after the official publication of the adopted amendments. While participation in and other activities relating to informal associations were considered an offense under the CoAO prior to the adoption of these new amendments, the relevant articles of the CoAO were rarely enforced by the government. CSOs, therefore, are more concerned about the relevant articles in the new amendments because they indicate that there will be stronger enforcement of those provisions against civil society.

On December 25, 2018, the Parliament adopted a new amendments to the Law on PAs that were signed by the President of Tajikistan on January 2, 2019. These amendments were adopted to implement and comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment report and are dedicated to strengthening efforts on Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). According to the new amendments, CSOs have to provide a financial report to the registering body (MoJ) that includes detailed information about income and expenditures. The MoJ is responsible for drafting the format of the financial report. Moreover, the new amendments contain some of the following requirements: retention of records about the internal and international financial operations for five years; provision of information about the activities and tasks of CSOs, including information about governance bodies, staff, members of organizations; and provision of information by the MoJ to authorized law enforcement agencies if it finds any risks regarding financing of terrorism and extremism.

The continuation of intrusive state audits of CSOs throughout all regions of Tajikistan continues to be a significant threat to the sustainability of civil society. State bodies such as the MoJ, tax bodies, and other authorities continue to carry out a growing number of audits of CSOs, which interfere in their work and create uncertainty for staff. The tax authorities and other state bodies continue to conduct more audits of local CSOs, including branches and representative offices of foreign CSOs. As a result of inspections, they are forced to pay significant fines. Due to ongoing economic difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic and budget shortfalls, it is likely that CSOs will continue to face threats of audits and other harassment from various state bodies.

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

There is no legal barrier limiting the ability of NCOs to engage in advocacy or public policy activities. All forms of public associations may participate in advocacy and lobbying activities.

According to Article 24 of the Law on Public Associations, public associations have the right to pursue the realization of their goals, and to:

  • participate in policy-making by government and regulatory authorities in the manner and within the scope established by this Law and other laws;
  • hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, processions and other public events in compliance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan;
  • represent and protect its rights and the legal interests of its members and participants or other citizens at the state offices, organizations, public associations and courts;
  • put forward initiatives on various aspects of community life and submit proposals to the Government; and
  • obtain information from the Government as necessary for implementation of the statutory goals, except for the cases established by the law of the Republic of Tajikistan.

According to Article 4 of the Law on Presidential Elections, public associations can participate in organizing and conducting presidential elections.

Charities are expressly prohibited from using their assets to support political parties, movements, and campaigns.

In practice, speech and advocacy is tightly restricted by the state and Tajik opposition figures, activists, and critical journalists are often accused of “terrorism” and “extremism”. In December 2022, for example, journalist and civil rights activist Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva was sentenced to 21 years in prison along with another opposition politician for her alleged “terrorist actions” in “organizing” deadly protests in the Gorno-Badakhshan region, which rights groups called trumped-up charges. One day before being arrested, she told RFE/RL she had nothing to do with the anti-government protests, but after her arrest she made a forced “confession” on television.

In May 2023, journalist Khurshed Fozilov was also handed a seven-year prison sentence for involvement in the activities of unspecified “banned groups.” As a freelance journalist, he covered social issues of ordinary people in Sughd and was critical of the local government. His arrest continued a trend seen in 2022, whereby Tajik courts sentenced seven journalists and bloggers, including Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, to prison terms ranging from seven years to 21 years on charges, such as false information, involvement in activities of terrorism and extremist groups, and cooperation with banned groups.

In addition, a large number of human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists were arrested in 2022 in relation to  the government response in the Gorno-Badakhshan region. UN Special Rapporteur on HRDs Mary Lawlor visited Tajikistan from November 28 to December 9, 2022 and issued a press statement describing a “climate of fear” for HRDs and condemning the treatment of HRDs.

Barriers to International Contact

On February 28, 2018, the Ministry of Education (MoE) introduced a decree that requires all students, teachers, professors, and rectors of Tajik educational institutions to obtain advance approval before traveling abroad. In addition, the heads of educational institutions must justify their travel and receive agreement from the MoE on any planned speeches or presentations to be delivered outside of the counntry. Upon return, all staff of educational institutions must provide a written report on the trip to the MoE. Many CSOs are concerned that these restrictions will create additional problems for organizations that collaborate with foreign educational institutions and participate in academic exchanges. Human rights organizations are also concerned that the new instruction contradicts the Declaration on Human Rights and the Constitution of Tajikistan by unduly restricting the free movement of Tajik citizens and restricting the academic rights of Tajik students.

Barriers to Resources

An NCO may engage in economic activities to the extent they advance the purposes for which the organization was created, but may not pursue the generation of profit as its primary purpose (Article 31, Law on Public Associations). Profit from the economic activities of NCOs, including charities, is generally taxed in the same manner as for commercial organizations.

In addition, amendments to the Law on Public Associations (PAs) from August 2015 require PAs to notify the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) about grants and other aid received from foreign sources. Based on these amendments, on March 31, 2016, the Government of Tajikistan approved the Regulation on Humanitarian Aid, which stipulates that grants received from a foreign source by a CSO must be registered in the Registry of Humanitarian aid. A CSO also must notify the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) about all grants received within 10 days.

Barriers to Assembly

Article 29 of Tajikistan’s Constitution provides that “Each citizen has the right to participate in lawfully established meetings, protests, demonstrations, and peaceful marches. No one may be forced to participate in these activities.” The 2014 Law on Assemblies, Meetings, Demonstrations and Marches (hereinafter “the Law”) governs the organization and conduct of assemblies.

On July 26, 2014, the Parliament adopted new amendments to the Law on Assemblies, which restrict foreign citizens from participating in meetings, rallies, demonstrations and marches. This makes the Law consistent with the constitutional limit of the right to assemble to citizens only.

Advance Notification
Article 12 of the Law requires organizations to notify the authorities 15 days before a demonstration. Article 13 states, “The head of a local executive body of state power or his deputy must consider the application for holding a mass event not later than 5 days before the date of the requested mass event, informing its organizer/s in writing about the decision made.” There is no provision in the Law that allows exceptions to the requirement to give advance notice to the authorities; thus spontaneous demonstrations are apparently illegal.

Time, Place and Manner Restrictions
Under Article 18 of the Law, holding a mass event is prohibited if the purpose of the planned mass event is the promotion of an action prohibited by the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan and the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan, or if the action itself is so prohibited; if a mass event poses a real threat to the life, health, and safety of citizens and violates their rights and legitimate interests; or if a mass event is held in violation of the provisions of this Law. A mass event is also prohibited if it is supposed to be held in a place or at a time previously declared for holding another mass event, or in a place prohibited or restricted for holding mass events; or a mass event obstructs the movement of vehicles and citizens or interferes with the smooth functioning of organizations; however, in this circumstance, the organizer is offered a different place to hold that event, at another time, or in another form.

The Law does not recognize counter-demonstrations.

Article 15 of the Law includes a long list of places where assemblies are prohibited. Some of these places are off-limits for the ostensible reason of protecting the life and safety of citizens, such as near high-voltage lines and railroad tracks or on construction sites that are not safe for citizens. However, this list also includes historic and cultural monuments, cemeteries and religious buildings, national parks, pilgrimage sites, territories directly adjacent to the residences of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, buildings occupied by courts, prisons, hospitals and other healthcare and educational institutions, etc. In addition, Article 15 restricts assemblies in “places related to the functioning of life support facilities, transport or social infrastructure, ensuring the movement of pedestrians, vehicles, providing citizens’ access to residential premises and transport and social infrastructure facilities,” which may make it impossible to hold marches that would involve participants’ use of the road infrastructure. The freedom to hold events in proximity to governmental buildings is limited, as the work of governmental bodies must not be impeded. The relevant Majlis of Deputies may prescribe the permissible distance from public buildings where demonstrations may be held.

Criminal Penalties and Fines
Organizers or participants of an assembly who violate the terms of the order permitting the demonstration may be subject to a fine. In addition, under Articles 22-23 of the Law, law enforcement officials may suspend or terminate a demonstration where:

  • the procedures for organizing and holding a mass event, established by the Law are violated;
  • a local executive body of state power has issued a descition to prohibit the holding of a mass event;
  • the grounds specified in the Law appear to prohibit a mass event;
  • the organizer of a mass event fails to meet his obligations stipulated by the Law; or
  • the organizer and participants of a mass event take actions prohibited by the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan.

The Criminal Code also provides for certain punishments in relation to violations of the law, including fines or up to two years imprisonment, if the act is committed within one year after the imposition of an administrative penalty.

Barriers to Public Participation

Laws on Public Participation
The Law on Legal Acts has a number of provisions on public participation in government decision-making.  It states that the government may provide drafts of laws or other legal/regulatory documents for public input and consideration, but it is not obligated to do so. Interested individuals and legal entities, including CSOs, may be provided with information on lawmaking activities; if the information is provided, they have the right to familiarize themselves with the content of lawmaking projects.  In addition, lawmakers may consider interested parties’ comments and proposals when finalizing the law, but this is not required.

To make the lawmaking process more accessible, information technology may be used from the planning period for the development of draft laws through the publication of an adopted act. This may include, for example, posting draft laws on the official website of the relevant government body, facilitating preliminary discussion of drafts via official government websites, online dissemination of information on draft and adopted laws, and online dissemination of information on legislative sessions, the sessions of other rule-making bodies, adoption of new laws, introduction of changes to laws, and cancellation of laws. While all draft and adopted laws must be posted on the Legal Information Internet Portal of the Republic of Tajikistan, in practice most laws that are posted relate to economic activity, the banking sector, and entrepreneurship, and technical issues make the portal unavailable at times.

However, once a law is adopted, the Law on Legal Acts must be printed in official publications.  In addition, it may be printed on lawmakers’ official websites and in the media.  Interested parties must have the opportunity to learn about the content of adopted laws.

Public Access to Participation Opportunities
In general, the public is not aware of the available mechanisms to participate in decision-making, and the legislature does not often disseminate information about citizens’ rights to be involved. In particular, very few individuals and legal entities know about the Legal Information Internet Portal, and lack of internet access hampers its use, particularly as there is no way to download documents from the portal.

In addition, while there are also cases where state bodies have held open hearings before adopting changes or new legislation and invite CSOs and media, these are rare and usually only happen with international organizations’ support.  These opportunities almost always take place in big cities or through webinars, which limits access for those in remote areas or without high-quality internet.

Finally, because of a worsening environment for civil society in recent years, including increased pressure on civic activists and media, CSOs are less and less likely to undertake participation opportunities out of fear it will put them at increased risk.  Organizations that work in the field of human rights or with or on behalf of marginalized groups are at particular risk.  As a result, even though Tajikistan adopted the law on Equality and the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination in 2022 and the government has spoken positively about its implementation, the groups that the law seeks to protect continue to face increased barriers to public participation.

UN Universal Periodic Review Reports Tajikistan Universal Periodic Review
Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on his mission to Tajikistan
USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes Not available
Amnesty International Tajikistan Report (2020)
Human Rights Watch Tajikistan Report (2021)
U.S. State Department Human Rights Report 2020
Fragile States Index Reports Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index
IMF Country Reports Not available
International Commission of Jurists Not available
International Federation for Human Rights Human rights in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan: How realistic is to expect further results after and EU open debate with civil society?
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library Tajikistan

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change.  If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

General News

Civil Society Demands Tajikistan Free Human Rights Lawyer On Eighth Anniversary Of Arrest (September 2023)
As the eighth anniversary of the unjust detention of Tajikistan human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov approaches, global civil society alliance CIVICUS and the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) call on the country’s authorities to immediately release him and unconditionally drop all charges. Buzurgmehr has sat in prison since September 28, 2015 and faces decades more behind bars following unjust convictions on false charges.

Tajikistan Adopts New Tax Code That Authorities Say Reduces Tax Burden (November 2021) (Russian)
In Tajikistan, the number of taxes has been reduced from 10 to 7. The authorities say this is one of the relaxations in the draft Tax Code. For years, Tajikistan’s tax system has been criticized for being too burdensome for entrepreneurs.

European Union: It is important to expand cooperation between media, civil society, and the government (August 12, 2020) (Russian)
Since the beginning of 2020 , the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), in partnership with Thomson Media (Germany) and the Tajik human rights center “Your Advocate,” have developed and launched online courses on access to information in Tajik and Russian. According to the chairman of NANSMIT Nuriddin Karshiboev, the courses help media professionals navigate the norms of laws, improve article quality, and interact with officials when seeking public information.

CSOs express concern about new amendments to Tajik legislation (July 4, 2020) (Russian)
The President of Tajikistan, despite the appeals from CSOs and journalists, signed amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code on July 4, 2020. The amendments impose fines and criminal penalties for failure to wear a protective mask, the spread of dangerous infectious diseases, publication of “inaccurate” information about COVID-19, amongst other issues.

Ministry of Finance of Tajikistan is ready to discuss the draft Tax Code with Civil Society (April 28, 2020) (Russian)
The Ministry of Finance of Tajikistan responded to the request of civil society to provide them with a draft Tax Code of the Republic of Tajikistan for review and preparation of their proposals. Earlier, ten public organizations sent a letter to the Minister of Finance of the country with a request to organize a joint discussion of the draft Tax Code with civil society.

Tajik Civil Society asks to be included in the process of finalizing the new Tax Code (April 3, 2020) (Russian)
A group of civil society organizations wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance and asked to receive the draft Tax Code for review and preparation of proposals.

Fine for participating in unregistered organizations increases significantly (January 17, 2020) (Russian)
As amended by the CoAO, the fine for managing the activities of unregistered, suspended, or prohibited by law public and religious associations was quadrupled  to 200 indicators for settlements (11.6 thousand somoni). Previously, the maximum fine for such an offense was 50 indicators (2.9 thousand somoni).

Parliamentarians and civil activists discussed opportunities of social entrepreneurship development in Tajikistan (January 10, 2020) (Russian)
Deputies of the Tajik parliament and CSO representatives discussed opportunities and prospects for the development of social entrepreneurship in the Republic of Tajikistan on January 9 in Dushanbe.

Torture, ill-treatment, the death penalty and shrinking space for NGOs (June 2019)
The International Partnership for Human Rights, the NGO Coalition against Torture and Impunity in Tajikistan, and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) prepared a joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee ahead of the consideration of Tajikistan’s Third Periodic Report at the Committee’s 126th session on July 2-3, 2019.

Tajik Civil Society Seeks Cancellation of Rising Internet Costs (March 2019)
Civil society of Tajikistan calls on the Anti-monopoly Service under the Government of Tajikistan to respect the constitutional rights of citizens in connection with the upcoming increase in the cost of the Internet.

Amendments to the Law on Public Associations (January 2019)
The Parliament’s upper chamber approved amendments to the Law on Public Associations, according to which every public organization is now obliged to have its own internet website including the mandatory publication of financial statements.

How many Tajik NGOs received money from abroad? (January 2019)
The Ministry of Justice reported that in 2018 Tajik NGOs received grants from abroad totaling 750 million somoni.

Senior UN official calls for free and open space for civil society in Tajikistan (May 2018)
Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Tajikistan, Andrew Gilmour, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, called for civil society space to be opened up, the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner reported. He stressed the need for human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and others to be allowed to carry out their crucial work unhindered by intimidation, unnecessary administrative inspections, and the fear of prosecution. Gilmour also urged the authorities to do more to strengthen the independence of lawyers, which would enhance access to justice. Without a vibrant civil society and the exercise of fundamental freedoms, he insisted, “neither security nor development can be truly sustainable – as we have seen in so many places.”

Tajikistan joins UN convention on persons with disabilities (March 2018)
The Tajik president has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

More than 854 million somoni allocated to support public associations (January 2018) (Russian)
In 2017, from Tajikistan and abroad grants worth 854,117 somoni were received to support the activities of public associations in the country.

International organizations and NGOs will be checked for corruption (June 2017)
International and non-governmental organizations working in Tajikistan, political parties and public associations have been obliged to provide an anti-corruption body with a detailed assessment of corruption risks each year.

Campaign entitled “I am against torture today, tomorrow, and always!” Implemented (June 2017)
Within the framework of an EU-funded human rights project, the Civil Society Coalition against Torture and Impunity in Tajikistan is implementing the campaign “I am against torture today, tomorrow, always!” on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which is celebrated annually on June 26.

Second National Plan on Implementation of recommendations provided by countries-members of UN Human Rights Council within the UPR framework is adopted in Tajikistan (June 2017)
“During these thematic discussions, participants representing the state working group on UPR, public organizations, international organizations and other representatives of civil society proposed activities to be included in the National Plan of Action. Based on the results of the thematic discussions, the National Plan was drafted by the Division on Human Rights Guarantees, which was previously discussed with civil society,” said Deputy Director of the Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law, Tahmina Juraeva

Tajikistan created favorable conditions for the activities of NGOs (June 2017)
Emomali Rahmon, speaking at a meeting of the Public Council of the Republic of Tajikistan, spoke about the government’s cooperation with civil society and NGOs. According to him, the Public Council contributes through propaganda and explanatory work in the implementation of the three strategic goals of the state – ensuring the country’s energy independence, avoiding communication isolation and protecting food security.

MoJ Discusses Draft Notification Format with CSOs (May 2016)
On May 4, the Ministry of Justice organized a constructive dialogue with CSOs and discussed the issues with registration of grants and draft Notification format.

Tajik CSOs Face More Controls (April 2016)
The Tajik government has adopted a decree that public organizations should notify the Ministry of Justice about their grants within ten days.

Journalist Community of Tajikistan against New Amendments to Law on Media (February 2016)
Four Tajik journalists’ organizations – Union of Journalists, the Media Council, the National Association of Independent Media, and the Organization “Homa” – issued a statement in which the proposed amendments to the Law on the Periodical Press and other Mass Media were condemned.

Human rights Organizations Concerned over Shrinking Civil Society Space (September 2015)
 In a written statement to the 2015 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, a number of human rights organization express concern about shrinking civil society space in Central Asia.

The Government Does Not Know What It Wants From CSOs (August 2015) (Russian)
The Government of Tajikistan from the beginning did not know what it wanted from CSOs. Most likely, it will tolerate CSOs because of the desire of Western partners. In addition, the Government has viewed CSOs as a tool for attracting foreign capital.

Message of CSOs to Tajik authorities: We are Your Friends, not Spies (July 2015) (Russian)
The head of the public organization “Nota Bene” Nigina Bakhrieva noted on July 27 in Dushanbe that the Tajik authorities have a negative attitude towards NGOs as they  began a “harsh” audit of the NGOs.

Lawsuit against Public Foundation “Nota Bene” by Tax Authorities (July 2015) (Russian)
Nigina Bakhrieva, head of the Public Foundation “Nota Bene”, and well-known human rights activist said that the Tax Committee filed a lawsuit against Nota bene to close it down as the organization misused the gaps in Law during the registration.

Minister of Justice: CSOs Received $4.5 billion Somoni from Foreign Sources (July 2015) (Russian)
The Minister of Justice, Rustam Shohmurod, said at a press conference that the purpose of making amendments to the Law on Public Associations is not limiting the activities of NGOs or the violation of their rights, but to find out the purpose of the allocated foreign grants. “We only want to determine that the foreign grants are not provided to support the terrorists and extremists”, he noted.

State Authorities Start to Audit CSOs (July 2015) (Russian)
Tajik State authorities started an audit mostly of the CSOs which are working on human rights. The leaders of the human rights organizations reported that the audits have been going on for over a month by the Ministry of Justice, General Prosecutor’s Office and the Tax Committee of Tajikistan.

The Control on the CSOs will be Stricter (June 2015)
On June 10, the Lower House of the Tajik parliament considered amendments to the Law on Public Associations. According to a source in the government, the amendments provide for stricter control over financial income and expenditure of public associations of the country.

Grants of Tajik CSOs will be Controlled by State Authorities (June 2015)
On June 10, the Lower House of the Tajik Parliament unanimously supported the government’s proposed amendments to the Law on Public Associations, which include stricter monitoring of financial flows from abroad to the accounts of organizations in Tajikistan.

U.S. Envoy Urges Civil Society To Get Involved In Fight Against Radicalization (November 2014)
The U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, Susan M. Elliott, has called for a greater role for civil society groups in helping to combat the fight against radicalization in Central Asia. Speaking in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on February 24 at the opening of a three-day conference for regional experts on regional cooperation and effective measures to combat the phenomenon of foreign militants, Elliott said that civil-society groups should be involved in “countering [militant] groups and the propaganda that they disseminate via the Internet.”

Drop Draft Legislation Restricting NGO Access to Funding (November 2014)
The World Movement has joined civil society organizations from Tajikistan and around the world to protest proposed amendments to Tajikistan’s Law on Public Associations. In a joint letter addressed to the government of Tajikistan, the signatories strongly urged the country’s authorities to respect the right of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to have unhindered access to funding for their work, including from sources abroad. The recent initiative to regulate and restrict access of NGOs to financial assistance is under consideration by the government, and runs counter to international standards protecting the right to freedom of association and risks endangering the work of NGOs in the country.

Draft report on monitoring closed institutions presented (October 2014) (Russian)
The presentation of the preliminary report on the results of monitoring closed institutions in Tajikistan was held on Monday, September 15 in Dushanbe. The event was organized by the NGO Coalition against Torture with the support of the Institute of the Ombudsman and the Swiss Cooperation Office.

Tajik student freed, but charges linger (October 2014)
Staring down the prospect of a decade or more in a Tajik prison, Alexander Sodiqov began to lose hope. Sodiqov, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, was arrested on charges of high treason in mid-June while conducting research in Khorog, the capital of Tajikistan’s restive Gorno-Badakhshan province. He was detained for a month in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, before authorities released him on July 22 – only to bar him from leaving the country. Earlier this month, Sodiqov was finally allowed to return to Canada, but he remains under investigation” in Tajikistan – a tenuous legal situation that has thrown into question his ability to ever go back. “Alexander Sodiqov’s case illustrates the limitations on the rights of freedom of expression of academics, journalists and human rights defenders in Tajikistan,” said Rachel Bugler, Amnesty International’s expert on Central Asia.

Rare Protests Helped by Authorities’ Invisible Hand? (May 2013)
In April, protestors assembled to criticize a Ukrainian court decision not to extradite former Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullajanov, who is wanted in Dushanbe for attempting to overthrow President Imomali Rakhmon back in the mid-1990s. Abdullajanov – who has refugee status in the United States – was released from a Ukrainian jail on April 4. The UN urged Kyiv not to send him to Tajikistan, reasoning that it was unlikely he would receive a fair trial at home. Under Tajik law, any demonstration, even if only one person participates, must receive official permission. Local media estimated that about 200 people overall participated in simultaneous protests on April 5, waving banners calling Abdullajanov a criminal and demanding that he face justice. About 15 people organized a picket outside UN offices the next day.

Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society established in Tajikistan (April 2013)
The Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society has been established in Tajikistan. A statement released by the Coalition notes that establishment of the Coalition is conditioned by the fact that “Tajik democracy and civil society are in danger.”

Dushanbe Web Regulator Creating “Preposterous Impediments” (January 2013)
In late December, the government’s communications agency ordered Internet service providers (ISPs) to block 131 websites for “technical” reasons. Then suddenly, a few days later, the ISPs were told, in effect; ‘never mind.’ Internet users in Tajikistan are getting accustomed to such erratic behavior from the state communications agency and its mercurial boss, Beg Zukhurov. For example, Zukhurov blocked Facebook twice in 2012, supposedly because he was upset that Tajiks were using the social network to criticize Tajikistan’s long-serving president. He’s also overseen the repeated blocking of Tajikistan’s leading independent news agency, Asia-Plus, as punishment for its critical reporting. But the December list appeared to be a random compilation of sites that included, besides Twitter and several popular Russian social networks, lots of obscure entertainment portals that few in Tajikistan care about.

NGOs feeling heat in winter (November 2012)
As the leader of a civil rights-focused non-governmental organization, Dilrabo Samadova said she was used to getting hassled by authorities about her group’s activities. But recent government actions to put the clamps on civil society groups like hers in Tajikistan took her by surprise.

Court ruling silences whistleblower on torture, hazing (October 2012)
A court in Tajikistan has ordered the closure of a prominent rights group, citing a variety of alleged technical violations of its operating license, including moving offices without duly notifying authorities, engaging in unauthorized training sessions involving high school students and operating an improperly registered website.

EU statement on closure of the Association of Young Lawyers “Amparo” (November 2012)
On Thursday November 1, the European Union Delegation to Tajikistan issued the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Tajikistan. The statement, in particular, says that the EU Delegation to Tajikistan is deeply concerned about the closure of the Association of Young Lawyers ”Amparo” following a ruling by a court in the northern city of Khujand. “The EU Delegation is convinced that it is in Tajikistan’s best interest to have a strong and independent civil society, and it believes that the closure of the NGO ”Amparo” could negatively affect the further development of civil society in the country.

Ministry of Education prohibits students from participating in educational events organized by international organizations (October 2012)
Under an instruction released by the Ministry of Education, students are prohibited from participating in educational events organized by international organizations.

Human rights group shut down in Khujand in politically motivated decision (October 2012)
A court in the northern city of Khujand, the capital of Sughd province, has shut down a human rights group, saying it operated without a proper license. In a ruling handed down on October 24, the Khujand city court shut down the Association of Young Lawyers, Amparo. Junayd Ibodov, a lawyer for Amparo, denounced the ruling and vowed to lodge an appeal against it.  He considers the court’s decision illegal and unfounded.  According to Ibodov, the case is politically motivated.  “We do not agree with this decision and intend to lodge an appeal against it,” the lawyer said.

Tajik authorities must respect human rights and ease access for NGOs to conflict region (July 2012)
Tajik authorities should respect human rights during a security operation in Gorno Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous region of eastern Tajikistan, Human Rights Watch said in a statement. In addition, the Tajik government should ease access to the region for Tajik civil society groups, the media, and international nongovernmental organizations. The government may reasonably restrict the movements of certain people or groups in conducting its operations in Gorno Badakhshan. But these restrictions should be proportionate and should not result in a total closure that puts people at greater risk.

USAID and ICNL host Tajik Delegation to examine Kazakh Government cooperation with civil society organizations (May 2012)
On May 20-25, a delegation of Tajik Government officials met with their Kazakh counterparts in Almaty and Astana to examine laws, trends and practices in both countries on providing government support to civil society organizations that deliver social services. The week-long series of meetings was organized by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

OSCE urges Tajikistan to end shutdown of Facebook and other websites critical of leader (April 2012)
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has urged Tajikistan to end a shutdown of Facebook and several Russian-language websites that published material critical of the nation’s leader, President Imomali Rakhmon. Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said in an appeal to the Tajik government she hoped that the ban of Facebook and the other websites would not set a precedent. She said the “Internet should remain an open public forum for discussion and free expression of opinions, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” She said she sent a letter to Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi on March 5 to express hope that “access to Facebook and the four news websites would be restored without delay.” Facebook’s popularity has soared in Tajikistan, with membership doubling last year to 26,000 people. Several Facebook groups openly discuss politics and some users have been critical of the authorities.

News Archive

Tajikistan CSOs prepare proposals for inclusion in the new tax code (December 2011)

Concept of tax policy in Tajikistan discussed by NGOs (December 2011)

The best human rights activist is lawyer Shukhrat Kudratov (December 2011)

NGOs in Tajikistan appeal to Rahmon and Medvedev (November 2011)

NGOs prepare an alternative report on the Implementation of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (October 2011)

Tajik NGO Coalition Against Torture urges probe into death of Shodiyev (October 2011)

Tajik NGOs concerned about new changes to tax code (February 2011)

Statement by IPHR and six other human rights NGOs to the OSCE Review Conference on challenges faced by human rights defenders in Central Asia (September 2010)

Tajik court bans NGO helping homeless children (July 2010)

Change you can’t believe in (March 2010)

Tajik judges seek millions from weeklies in civil libel case (February 2010)

Media watchdog urges Tajik officials to end media harassment (February 2010)