The European Union and Tajikistan held the eighth round of their annual Human Rights Dialogue in Dushanbe today. The EU delegation was led by Toivo Klaar, Head of the Central Asia Division of the European External Action Service, while the Tajikistan delegation was headed by Sharaf Karimzoda, Deputy Head of Department for Human Rights in the executive apparatus of the President of Tajikistan.
The meeting allowed for an open and frank exchange of views on the human rights situation in Tajikistan.
The European Union reiterated its serious concern regarding a number of developments over the past year, including the prosecution and imprisonment of political opponents, members of their families, and lawyers representing them, and urged Tajikistan to fully investigate reports of torture and violations of the right to a fair trial in these cases.
The EU welcomed recent steps to enhance legal safeguards against torture, and encouraged greater efforts to implement those safeguards and to prosecute those responsible for torture.
EU representatives underlined the important role played by civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Tajikistan, and urged the Tajik authorities to facilitate their work, and to engage in further consultations with NGOs on the development of new financial reporting procedures. The EU also urged the Tajik authorities to ease pressure on journalists and to cease blocking news websites.
The next round of the human rights dialogue will be held in Brussels in 2017.