Governments and intergovernmental organizations should denounce the worsening human rights crisis in Tajikistan, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said in a video released today during the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The United States and the European Union and its member countries, as well as the United Nations and the OSCE, should press for targeted sanctions absent immediate reform.

Tajikistan is in the midst of its most dire human rights crisis in 20 years, the organizations said. Over the past two years, authorities have arrested, imprisoned, and tortured opposition party members, and banned the country’s leading opposition party, labeling them a terrorist group. The authorities have also arrested scores of lawyers, journalists, and anyone posting statements critical of the government on social media. While hundreds of activists have fled the country, the government has targeted perceived critics abroad, seeking their arrest and extradition to Tajikistan. Some critics abducted abroad have reappeared in Tajik custody.