Statement on the Occasion of International Human Rights Day

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, December 9, 2022 – December 10 marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, offering a chance for all of us to reflect on the current state of human rights around the world.  The United Nations Charter, the U.S. Constitution, and the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan each enshrine principles of basic, universal human rights:  freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to peacefully assemble, and the right to a fair trial, among others.

Every country has its own path and its own shortcomings.  The United States is one of the world’s oldest democracies, but since our national founding when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, we continue to strive to live up to the ideals of democracy and respect for human rights set forth in that aspirational document.

As friends and partners of Tajikistan, the United States recognizes the strides that your republic has made in the promotion and protection of human rights since independence in 1991 and since emerging from civil war in the 1990s.  Because peace and security should not be taken for granted, the United States also notes with growing concern the recent and ongoing use of harassment, censorship, arrest, criminal prosecution in closed trials, and harsh prison sentences to stifle free expression and punish free association.  We stand with the journalists, lawyers, civil society activists, and others arrested for exercising their fundamental freedoms peacefully.  We urge the government to uphold the rights of all its citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan.

Human Rights Day is an opportunity for the community of nations to reflect on our international obligations and commitments that provide equitable treatment for all, while providing security for our societies.  The United States will continue to work with the government and the people of Tajikistan to achieve these goals.