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The Role of the International Community

In the face of systematic corruption, a politically influenced judiciary, and rampant security force abuse, senior representatives of international and humanitarian organizations working in the country and regional specialists called frequently for human rights conditions to apply for funding from the Bretton Woods institutions and other financial bodies.

The World Bank conducted a major poverty assessment in 2000, with an aim to establish a poverty reduction program and provided credits totaling close to U.S. $200 million. The Asian Development Bank gave U.S. $120 million for agricultural, education, and health care reform, while Islamic Development Bank representatives and the Coordination Group of Arab Foundations committed funds for health and infrastructure projects. China contributed some U.S. $700,000 for military technical support.

United Nations

In spite of grievously flawed elections, the unfulfilled peace agreement, and a precarious security situation, the United Nations Mission of Observers to Tajikistan (UNMOT) terminated its mandate on May 15. UNMOT's support for rushed elections at the expense of human rights goals and long-term political stability seemed at least partially designed to justify the peacekeeping mission's premature exit from the country. This haste to withdraw was illustrated by the closure of its field offices, whose personnel had been tasked with overseeing and monitoring the parliamentary elections, even before the runoff votes had been held. UNMOT was replaced by a U.N. Tajikistan Office of Peace Building (UNTOP), manned in Dushanbe by only a handful of international staff members.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

In 2000 a Khujand field office was added to those already in place in Shaartuz, Dusti, and Kurgan-Tiube, while an OSCE presence was maintained in Garm by a local staff member. The mission led a joint U.N.-OSCE election observation team for the February parliamentary elections and produced a comprehensive report which noted that the elections failed to meet minimum democratic standards. Noteworthyinitiatives included a high-profile intervention on behalf of a prisoner facing capital punishment, a sentence later commuted to imprisonment, and access to prisons by the mission.

The Republic of Uzbekistan

The first official service flight in nine years flew once between Dushanbe and Tashkent in August but was canceled when later in that same month Uzbek-Tajik relations soured following clashes between Islamic insurgents and government troops in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan subsequently sealed its borders with Tajikistan, and a visa regime between the two countries became effective in September.

Russian Federation

Russia kept a firm military presence in Tajikistan through its 201st Motorized Rifle Division, the thousands-strong Russian Border Forces, and a permanent Russian military base in Khujand, and through support for antiterrorist and anti-drug trafficking activities. Russia threatened to conduct air strikes against alleged Chechen training bases in Afghanistan. Russia failed to use its military ties to encourage measures to curb the lawless and abusive practices of the Tajik security forces.

United States

Although United States Embassy international staff were relocated in September 1998 to Almaty for security reasons, the "suspended operations" status of the U.S. embassy was lifted in late 1999, and United States embassy personnel based in Almaty traveled regularly to Dushanbe. The U.S. Agency for International Development's budget for Central Asia suffered close to a 30 percent cut, and the agency elaborated a strategy to collaborate mainly with in-country NGOs and local government, particularly in the areas of health and environment. The State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999 provided an unbiased and in general accurate review of the sorry state of human rights in Tajikistan.

Relevant Human Rights Watch


Freedom of Expression Still Threatened, 11/99

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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