Tajikistan Joins “World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators”—US Report | EurasiaNet.org

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Censorship, Economy and Resources, International, Region, Religion, Tajikistan

Tajikistan has been added to a US government list of the world’s 16 worst abusers of religious freedom.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), funded by Congress, has censured Tajikistan for “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief,” naming the country one of it’s “countries of particular concern.” In a report released March 20, USCIRF says Dushanbe “suppresses and punishes all religious activity independent of state control, and imprisons individuals on unproven criminal allegations linked to religious activity or affiliation.”

Elsewhere in Central Asia, USCIRF has long classified Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan as “countries of particular concern” (CPC). The commission says it is closely monitoring Kazakhstan. Turkey also joined the CPC list this year.

The annual report offers recommendations to Congress, the secretary of state, and the president. The State Department issues its own yearly report on religious freedom, which takes into consideration the commission’s recommendations, but usually includes a shorter list of countries of particular concern and recommendations for sanctions. In the case of gas-rich Turkmenistan, though it has been on the commission’s CPC list since 2000, the State Department does not include it on its own list. The State Department has designated Uzbekistan, an essential ally in the Afghanistan war, as a CPC since 2006, but since 2009 has waved any punitive action.

This year, the commission graduated Tajikistan from its “watch list” partially because Dushanbe introduced harsh new legislation broadly affecting the country’s faithful, especially the Muslim majority. One new law “even limits parents’ choice of their children’s names.”

via Tajikistan Joins “World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators”—US Report | EurasiaNet.org.

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