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Procedure : 2016/2754(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0758/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-0758/2016

Debates :

PV 09/06/2016 - 3.2
CRE 09/06/2016 - 3.2

Votes :

PV 09/06/2016 - 4.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0275

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 200kWORD 81k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0755/2016
7.6.2016
PE596.924v01-00
 
B8-0758/2016

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Tajikistan, situation of prisoners of conscience (2016/2754(RSP))


Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Isabella Adinolfi, Beatrix von Storch on behalf of the EFDD Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on 2016/2754 (2016/2754(RSP))  
B8‑0758/2016

The European Parliament,

¾Having regard to the European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 September 2009 on the proposal for a Council and Commission decision on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Tajikistan, of the other part (12475/2004 – 11803/2004 – C6-0118/2005 – 2004/0176(AVC)),

 

¾Having Regard to the European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2009 on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Tajikistan, of the other part

¾Having regard to the Answer given, on 3 May 2016 by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini to the Question for written answer on "Referendum in Tajikistan and the EU's reaction" ,

 

¾Having regard to the Answer given, on 14 January 2016 by High Representative/ Vice-President Mogherini to the Question for written answer on "Recent rebellion in Tajikistan" ,

 

¾Having regard to the Answer given, on 24 September 2015 by High Representative/ Vice-President Mogherini to the Question for written answer on "Freedom of journalism in Tajikistan" ,

 

¾Having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

 

 

A. Whereas in the last year Tajikistan has experienced several violent incidents; whereas in one of those a high-ranking military officer and loyal militia men took up arms against institutions of the Tajik state, and were subsequently killed by Tajik law enforcement services; whereas there is no clarity yet as to the exact nature of the officer's motives;

 

B. Whereas the government's response — which consisted mainly in the outlawing of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IPRT) as a terrorist organisation and the arrest of some of its key members — was judged by the EU as disproportionate;

 

C. Whereas, furthermore the government had already put other restrictions on political freedoms since the March 2015 elections;

 

D. Whereas the EU-Tajikistan Civil Society seminar — which took place in late November 2014 — resulted in a number of key recommendations to the Tajik government and to the legislative branch, among which the most important related to institutional and human capacity building of press services within government agencies, to digitalisation, and to broadcasting and telecommunications regulation in line with Tajikistan's WTO commitments;

 

E. Whereas, unfortunately, since the Civil Society Seminar, there have been negative developments in the area of freedom of expression, including the reported harassment of independent journalists and Internet blockages;

 

F. Whereas the EU has raised these issues with the Tajikistan government, most notably at the Human Rights Dialogue on 11 June, and at the Cooperation Committee the previous day, emphasising the importance it attaches to freedom of expression on the Internet, and reiterating its strong belief that having access to a global, open, and secure Internet, where citizens can freely exchange information, is central to social and economic development;

 

G. Whereas, in the same framework, he EU also raised concerns about specific cases where independent journalists and publishers have been harassed or prosecuted, and expressed its criticism about the widespread blocking of websites in May 2015, and the major shutdown of late 2014;

 

H. Whereas, since those meetings in May, and continuing to this day, there were further blockages of social networking and online video services;

 

I. Whereas the Tajik government has adopted a number of amendments to the constitution which have the effect of strengthening he personal rule of incumbent President Rahmon, who has been ruling the country since 1994; whereas the said amendments have been confirmed by the referendum held on 22 My 2016;

 

J. Whereas these constitutional amendments have been adopted following elections have been criticized as unfair; whereas other restrictions has being placed on civil liberties, and the main opposition party has been outlawed;

 

K. Whereas violence has been increasing in Tajikistan in a manner reminiscent of the civil war of the 1990s and the Deputy Minister of Defence has been killed together with eleven rebels who were suspected of participation in an armed insurrection in Dushanbe in August;

 

L. Whereas under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the regime of President Rahmon recently decided to outlaw the only Islamic opposition party and regard it as a terrorist organisation; whereas the said government is engaging in massive intimidation and arrests of political opponents, critical journalists and members of NGOs and public officials have been banned from attending Friday prayers;

 

M. Whereas a repressive political environment, together with a poor economy, is a cause of frustration among Tajik citizens, and makes them prone to the propaganda of radical movements while the number of Tajik fighters in the Daesh ranks keeps growing (estimated at 2 000), and this consequently poses a threat to the security the EU Member States;

 

N. Whereas In June 2015, the Commission confirmed the allocation of EUR 251 million in development aid to Tajikistan for the period 2014-2020; whereas the EU called on the country to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and implement democratic reforms.

 

 

O. Whereas it must be recognised that the security situation in Tajikistan and the wider region remains very fragile, and that the unfolding economic crisis in Central Asia has led to falling living standards in what is already one of the world's poorest countries; whereas against this backdrop, the EU's bilateral assistance programmes, including the GSP scheme, continue to function as important instruments for both poverty alleviation and political stabilisation.

 

 

 

 

1.Expresses deep concern for the raising of extremism due to the propaganda of radical movements in Tajikistan and firmly condemn any form of terrorism; but deplores any attempt to use the fight against terrorism as a pretext to eliminate political opposition;

 

2.Notes with concerns that the space for political opposition is highly limited in Tajikistan: the only real opposition parties that had been represented in the parliament – the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and the Communist Party – fell out in the March 2015 elections, which were deemed unfree and unfair by international observers;

 

3.Notes that the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) was banned, shut down and placed on the blacklist of extremist and terrorist organisations in September 2015 by the ruling of the high court of Tajikistan, including banning the newspaper Najot (Salvation) linked to the party as well as distribution of any video, audio and printed materials;

 

4.Underlines that 13 leading members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) were arrested on 16-18 September 2015, following the special security operation initiated against the armed group of Abduhalim Nazarzoda over two armed attacks that took place in Tajikistan at the beginning of September;

 

5.Notes that on 9 February 2016, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court began hearing the cases of these 13 leading members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) as well as four other individuals associated with the party and that the trials have been conducted in camera, being the cases “classified”;

 

6.Is concerned that on 2 June 2016, two deputy heads of Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) Mahmadali Hayit and Saidumar Khusaini, received life sentence and that other 12 leading party figures were sentenced between two and 28 years in jail at the end of the in camera trial;

 

7.Notes the reports of the confiscation of property of party members, as well as pressure on their relatives, including under-age children; notes that many relatives of arrested IRPT members were dismissed from their jobs;

 

8.Condemns the fact that the charges against arrested IRPT members are largely based on confessions apparently obtained under duress;

 

9.Notes that Media outlets in Tajikistan operate in a difficult environment, in which self-censorship is widespread; notes with concern that the National Association of Independent Mass Media in Tajikistan (Nansmit) has received information about a number of cases of harassment of journalists after the September 2015 armed attacks, including cases where journalists have been summoned, questioned and threatened by law enforcement authorities;

 

10.Condemns the fact that civil defamation lawsuits have been used as a form of retaliation against outspoken media and journalists; condemns the cases of common citizens detained on politically motivated charges and ill-treated in custody, following their declarations criticizing relatives of the president by referring cases of alleged corruption;

 

11.Underlines, that arbitrary blocking of news sites, social media sites and other online resources has become a regular occurrence in Tajikistan in the last few years and that the internet providers have reported receiving informal orders from the government’s Communications Service to block sites, while an European telecommunications company, which holds a controlling stake in Tajikistan’s Tcell provider, has publicly acknowledged that it has blocked dozens of websites at the request of the authorities of the country;

 

12.Condemns the fact that text messaging services have also been repeatedly restricted in connection with particular political developments in the country, such as the launch of the special security operation after the armed attacks in September 2015; is deeply worried that amendments to legislation on counteracting terrorism adopted in late 2015 as well as amendments to legislation on the state of emergency adopted in 2014 grant to national authorities and security services broad powers to restrict internet and cell phone access during anti-terrorism operations or other emergency situations, thus creating a legal basis for a problematic practice that has already been used;

 

13.Stresses that the new Law on Public Associations that entered into force in August 2015 require NGOs to report information about foreign and international grants to the Ministry of Justice for inclusion in a special state registry prior to using them, while not providing any details on the procedure for reporting information about grants and up to now;

 

14.Is deeply concerned that the new Law on the Bar and the Practice of Law that entered into force in March 2015 contains provisions that threaten the independence of the legal profession, among others by conferring strong powers to a body in which the Ministry of the Justice plays a prominent role;

 

15.Regrets that the lawyers have recently been subjected to growing pressure because of their professional activities and several lawyers have been criminally charged in what appear to be retaliation for their work. The cases of Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nuriddin Mahkamov, who defended the rights of arrested IRPT members are currently on trial, as well as of Shukhrat Kudratov, who remains in prison are of particular concern.

 

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Government and National Assembly of Tajikistan.

 

Last updated: 10 October 2017Legal notice