Tajikistan is an authoritarian state dominated politically by President Emomali Rahmon and his supporters since 1992. The constitution provides for a multiparty political system, but the government has historically obstructed political pluralism. In April 2020 Rustam Emomali, the mayor of Dushanbe and eldest son of President Rahmon, became speaker of the Majlisi Milli, the upper house of parliament, placing him next in line for succession. March 2020 parliamentary elections and the October 2020 presidential election were neither free nor fair.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Drug Control Agency, Agency on State Financial Control and the Fight against Corruption (Anticorruption Agency), State Committee for National Security, State Tax Committee, and Customs Service share civilian law enforcement responsibilities. All law enforcement agencies and the Customs Service report directly to the president. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is primarily responsible for public order and manages police. The Drug Control Agency, Anticorruption Agency, and State Tax Committee have mandates to investigate specific crimes. The State Committee for National Security is responsible for intelligence gathering, controls the Border Service, and investigates cases linked to alleged extremist political or religious activity, trafficking in persons, and politically sensitive cases. Agency responsibilities overlap significantly, and law enforcement organizations deferred to the State Committee for National Security. Civilian authorities only partially maintained control over the security forces. There were reports that members of the security forces committed numerous abuses.
Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: arbitrary or unlawful killings; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; political prisoners; transnational repression against individuals in another country; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; punishment of family members for alleged offenses by a relative; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence or threats of violence against journalists, censorship, and the threat to enforce criminal libel laws; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws on the organization, funding, or operation of nongovernmental and civil society organizations; particularly severe restrictions of religious freedom; significant restrictions on freedom of movement; inability of citizens to change their government peacefully through free and fair elections; serious and unreasonable restrictions on political participation; serious government corruption; serious government restrictions on and harassment of domestic and international human rights organizations; lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex persons; and existence of the worst forms of child labor.
The government rarely took steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish government officials for human rights abuses or for corruption. Officials in the security services and elsewhere in the government mostly acted with impunity.
For Further Reference
Full U.S. Department of State Human Rights Country Report
U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Country Report
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Annual Report Chapter on Tajikistan
U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report Country Narrative
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
Human Rights Watch World Report Country Chapter
Amnesty International Annual Report Country Chapter
Freedom House Freedom in the World Country Report