09 March 2011, 10:09
Dushanbe justifies freedom of religion restrictions with fight against extremism
Dushanbe, March 9, Interfax - Tajikistan meets its obligations to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe regarding the freedom of religion and uses its law enforcement agencies solely for fighting manifestations of radicalism, said Nuriddin Shamsov, Tajikistan's ambassador to the OSCE.
The text of the ambassador's speech was published by the Tajik Foreign Minister after the U.S. Embassy issued the transcript of a speech by Ambassador Ian Kelly who expressed Washington's concerns over the freedom of religion situation in the Central Asian republics, particularly in Tajikistan.
The U.S. is alarmed by the Tajik bill on "Parents' responsibility for children's upbringing" that is offering a ban on manifestation of religious worship by any person aged under 18. Kelly urged Dushanbe to drop this clause.
"The human rights issues should be considered along with growing manifestations of extremism, radicalism, terrorism and international threats, which start beyond the OSCE zone, as well as in the context of national and regional efforts to maintain security and stability in the region," the Tajik diplomat said.
In 2010, courts in Tajikistan jailed 158 people for religious extremism. In 2009 such verdicts were issued against just 37 people.
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