05.10.2022

Repressions against the Pamiris in Tajikistan: numerous victims, lawlessness, impunity

Hello, dear participants of today’s meeting. I want to thank the organizers of this event for the opportunity to talk about the tragedy of a small nation.

On May 18 of this year, in the town of Vamar, the administrative center of the Rushansky district of the Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region (BMAR), an event took place, which the press dubbed the “Rushan Bucha”, by analogy with the bloody events in Ukraine.

These two events in their cruelty and inhumanity leave many speechless. Defending your own identity and the right to think of yourself as a person that you are by birthright and to be who you feel you are have unfortunately ended in disaster in both cases.

(Showing photographic evidence of the Rushan massacre)

In the photographs, you see 4 friends, residents of the village of Derzud. On May 17, 2022, several hundred residents of the Rushan district in the town of Vamar took part in a civil rally of disagreement with the decision of the Tajik authorities to conduct a military operation against participants in a peaceful protest in the city of Khorog, the administrative center of BMAR.

Ardasher Munosibov is the only son of his parents. The picture shows Ardasher’s father, bending over his son. Then and now, this heartbroken father is the symbol of the Pamiris who do not know what to do with their tragedy and pain and whether there is anyone in this world who will heed the cry about injustice.

Before death, all four were subjected to savage torture and beatings. During these many hours of an illegal interrogation, they were insulted on ethnic and religious grounds.

For example, the murdered Shukhrat Rushtov was told that the Pamiris should not be buried like Muslims, because they have a dirty and unfaithful religion, and they themselves are also unclean. Shukhrat Rushtov, according to our information, had his tongue and genitals cut off for attempting to defend himself verbally.

This is the body of a resident of Vamar – Edgor Amrihudoev. They took him straight from work. He was not even, like many other victims, a participant in a civil action of dissent. One of the witnesses of the Rushan massacre told me that he saw how the special forces stabbed the naked bodies of the dead with knives, saying: “This is the fate of those who consider themselves Pamiris, not Tajiks.”

The guilt of all these brutally murdered people was that they were ethnic Pamiris.

During the so-called counter-terrorist operation in Wamara, more than 40 people were brutally killed. President Rahmon, who has been the permanent head of Tajikistan for more than 30 years, said that he personally gave the order to start cleaning up the region.

The Pamiris are an ethnic and religious minority in Tajikistan that is not officially recognized by the Tajik authorities. This is a people with a very ancient and tragic history, during which the Pamiris were repeatedly discriminated against and physically destroyed by various forces precisely because of their identity. The Pamiris are Ismaili Shiites, in contrast to the Sunni majority of Tajikistan. During the civil war in Tajikistan, mass ethnic cleansing of the Pamiris took place. There are thousands of dead people, whose names are still unknown to the general public.

From 2012 to the present day, at least 100 people have died at the hands of Tajik security forces. Many of them were subjected to extrajudicial executions. Not a single murder case was prosecuted, a forensic medical examination was not carried out, and the perpetrators were not punished.

Here is one of the most striking examples of impunity: prosecutor Mukhtor Akhrorzoda is an employee of the regional prosecutor’s office in Khorog. He openly writes on social networks that he will rape all Pamiris from 7 to 70 years old. And he continues to work.

Over the past six months, hundreds of residents of BMAR have been arrested. They do not have lawyers. Investigations and trials are held behind closed doors. Most Tajik lawyers do not want to take on Pamiri cases for fear of losing their lawyer’s license. In private conversations, they admit that they receive the order to refuse from the authorities.

Under the guise of a population census, information is collected about the Pamiris and their family members, especially those who live, work or study outside of Tajikistan. The authorities control the remittances of Pamiri migrants. For every transfer of money from abroad, the Pamiris have to give an account.

On Youtube, you can find a video of the special operation in Khorog from 2012, in which the Tajik military insults the Pamiris, calling them “Ghanaians”, “infidels”, and “dirty”, and declares that all Pamiris should be killed. This video was filmed by the special forces themselves and it was they who posted it on the Internet.

Pamirophobia is not a problem of individual Tajik nationalists, but of the Tajik authorities as a whole. They are not satisfied that the Pamiris consider themselves Pamiris, not Tajiks. The authorities have tacitly banned the Pamiris from speaking their native languages ​​in state institutions. The Pamiris are not allowed to print books, magazines and newspapers in their own languages, despite the language law, which obliges the state to create conditions for the development of the Pamiri languages.

In 2011, at the “Imruz” radio station I created, it was decided to open an hour-long program in one of the Pamiri languages. However, the authorities did not like my initiative, and I was recommended to take the program off the air in exchange for the freedom of my employees.

Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region is the largest region of Tajikistan and this region does not have any non-governmental media, including in the Pamiri languages. All efforts to create these media have failed because President Rahmon sees the emergence of a free press as a threat to the security of his power, and the formation of media in minority languages ​​as a threat to the nation-state.

Tajiks from other regions of the country have always called the inhabitants of Badakhshan “Pamiris” and considered them different. The authorities informally also call them “Pamiris”. For 30 years the Pamiris have been living under the most severe pressure and persecution. Religious discrimination is one of the problems of Tajik society. A law on religion adopted a few years ago, proclaims the Sunni Hanafi madhhab as the main and central religious direction of the country.

What to do?

 

  • State leaders and international organizations should pay attention to the problems of discrimination against the Pamiris in Tajikistan. Carefully study all the facts and evidence of the persecution and manhunt of the Pamiris.
  • Provide financial, psychological and legal assistance to Pamiri activists and their relatives, who today are being persecuted and imprisoned.
  • Assistance is needed in the creation and free functioning of public organizations, and independent media to protect human rights and the national identity of small ethnic groups living in Tajikistan.

 

Rustamjon Dzhoniev

Эта запись так же доступна на: Russian