Tajikistan Country Update

Religious freedom conditions continue to deteriorate in Tajikistan, as developments in neighboring Afghanistan reinforce the intersection between authoritarianism and security concerns. For over a decade, the Tajik government heavily regulated what it deemed as acceptable Islamic practice, subordinating Muslim institutions to the regime and imprisoning independent clerics, political opponents, and secular critics as “extremists” and “terrorists.” The imminent challenge posed by the Taliban’s rapid takeover in Afghanistan threatens to accelerate this trend and diminishes the potential for Tajikistan to reevaluate religious freedom restrictions. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief recently cancelled a planned trip to Tajikistan the country after failing to receive the promised official invitation, dampening hopes that Tajikistan country might be on the cusp of change. This report details ongoing violations of religious freedom and explains how the shifting geopolitical landscape in the region diminishes the prospect of significant reform.

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