Dushanbe, December 9, Interfax - The Tajik government's Committee on Religion and Regulation of Traditions, Celebrations, and Ceremonies has said that it is troubled by a statement issued by the United States Department of State, which has designated Tajikistan as a country of particular concern as regards religious freedom.
"The committee cannot agree with this statement of the Department of State that calls into question today's level of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion in Tajikistan. As it did on numerous occasions before, the committee again resolutely declares its unchanged position that such reports are not based on any real facts, but rely only on unofficial press," the Tajik committee said in a statement circulated on Wednesday.
The annual reports of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom dealing with freedom of religion in Tajikistan are published almost without any editing and are practically the same year in, year out, it said. The committee has repeatedly invited a special mission to analyze the actual situation surrounding freedom of religion and to learn about the country's progress and shortcomings in this field.
"If one takes an impartial and just look at the situation, the Republic of Tajikistan has scored a number of achievements in the sphere of religion since it gained independence [after the Soviet breakup], and ignoring these achievements and including our country in the list of states where freedoms of religion and faith are violated is ultimately unjust," it said.
The committee reiterated its readiness to work together with organizations and institutions that specialize in evaluating countries' freedom of religion record.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement circulated by the Department of State on Tuesday that Tajikistan is among the ten countries named by the U.S. for particular concern over religious freedom.