Tajikistan
08.11.12
Urgent Interventions

Closure of the NGO "Amparo"

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

TJK 001 / 1112 / OBS 103

Arbitrary closure of an NGO

Tajikistan

November 8,2012

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the InternationalFederation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Tajikistan.

Description ofthe situation:

The Observatory has beeninformed by reliable sources about the closure of Association of Young Lawyers“Amparo”, a human rights organisation founded in 2005 and a member of theCoalition Against Torture, very active in investigating cases of torture andill-treatment as well as in monitoring and advocating for the rights ofvulnerable groups in Tajikistan.

According to the information received, onOctober 24, 2012, a court of the City of Khujand (North of Tajikistan) headedby Judge Safarali Kurbonov decided to close down “Amparo”, on grounds that theorganisation had breached several of its legal and administrative obligations,including the provisions of the new Law “On Public Associations”, adopted in2007.

This ruling follows a motion filed on June 29,2012 by the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan to liquidate “Amparo”, the dayafter officials conducted a large audit at the Khujand offices of theorganisation without providing any prior notification nor presenting anywritten decision of inspection.

In the said motion, the Ministry of Justicealleged that “Amparo” had changed its legal address without re-registering withthe local Department of Justice; that it had created an official website incontravention with the Law “On Public Associations”; that it was carrying outactivities outside the Sughd region where it was registered; and that it conductedtraining sessions on human rights issues for high school students without anyproper licence.

It is to be noted however that all theallegations of the Ministry of Justice appear to be groundless, as “Amparo”representatives did reportedly inform the Tajik authorities that theorganisation's address had changed and have held all their training sessions inthe framework of agreements with the Ministry of Education and/or the localexecutive authorities. In addition, no provision of the Law “On Public Associations”prohibits them from operating a website and, before it was forcibly closeddown, “Amparo” reportedly had an application for country-wide registrationpending with the Ministry of Justice since July 25, 2012.

Mr. Junayd Ibodov, “Amparo”'s lawyer, thereforemaintains that the case against the organisation is illegal and politicallymotivated. “Amparo”'s representatives intend to appeal the Court's decision inearly December.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitraryclosure of the human rights organisation “Amparo” and the conditions in whichthe court decision was issued, as it clearly aims at sanctioning theorganisation's legitimate human rights activities.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to the authorities of Tajikistan, urging themto:

i. Put an end to any act of harassment - including at thejudicial level - against Amparo and its members, as well as against all humanrights defenders in Tajikistan;

ii. Conformwith the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individuallyand in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”,

- its article 5, which states that “everyone has the right, individuallyand in association with others, at the national and international levels: (a)To meet or assemble peacefully; (b) To form, join and participate innon-governmental organizations, associations or groups; (c) To communicate withnon-governmental or intergovernmental organizations.”

- its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that “Everyone has the right,individually and in association with others […] as provided for in human rightsand other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart ordisseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights andfundamental freedoms and [...] to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on theobservance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamentalfreedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw publicattention to those matters”.

- and its Article 12.2, which provides that “theState shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by thecompetent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others,against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination,pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or herlegitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration” ;

iii. More generally, ensure in all circumstancesthe respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional humanrights instruments ratified by Tajikistan.

Addresses:

· President of theRepublic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Enomali Rahmmon, Rudaki avenue,80, 734023 g. Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Tel: +992 372 21 68 00

· Prime Minister,Mr. Oqil Oqilov, Rudaki avenue, 80, 734023 g. Dushanbe, Tajikistan.Tel: +992 372 21 66 81 // 21 18 71

· Minister ofJustice, Mengliev RustamShomurodovich, Rudaki avenue, 25, Dushanbe 734025, Tajikistan. Fax: +992 37 221 80 66

· General Prosecutor SalimzodaSherkhoni Odina, DUSHANBE, 734043, ABUALI IBN SINO AVE., 126. Phone: + 992 372355635 // 357874

· Chairman ofthe Supreme Court Nusratullo Abdullaev, Karaboev avenue, 1, Dushanbe 734018.Tel: +992 372 33 48 21

· Permanentmission of the Republic of Tajikistan to the United Nations in Geneva, 93 ruede la Servette (4th floor), 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 734 11 58,Email: tajikistanmission@bluewin.ch

· Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in Brussels, boulevardGénéral Jacques 16, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 649 01 95, Email: taj-emb@edpnet.be

Please alsowrite to diplomatic representations of Tajikistan in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, November 8, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, isdedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer themconcrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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