Natives of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) studying and working abroad have applied to the Communications Service under the Government of Tajikistan and mobile company operating in the region with solicitation to restore access to Internet in GBAO.

In an appeal released on December 22, they, in particular, note that Internet disconnection is used as a tool in a conflict that occurred in GBAO on November 25.  

“Complete blockage of Internet deprives all of us living away from home of an opportunity to communicate with our families, which is most strongly felt during the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the appeal.  

They write that lack of access to Internet has led to the following serious socio-economic problems:


  • Applicants from GBAO wanting to study abroad cannot participate in the entrance exams and submit documents over the Internet;
  • Students taking online education and qualification courses are forced to skip classes;
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises suffer serious financial losses due to lack of access to online purchases and sales  


“The young generation should not be held responsible for the consequences of political tensions and should not be deprived of a chance for the best education and prosperous future.  Very few university applicants from GBAO can afford to travel 600 kilometers to Dushanbe in order to access to Internet just to take a two-hour exam.  Simultaneously, they have to miss school and bear travel expenses,” says the appeal.  .

They note that the fact that access to Internet has not yet been restored in Khorog undermines the confidence of the local population in both the authorities and Internet service providers.  “We are dismayed that Internet service providers in GBAO charge for services that are not currently provided,” GBAO natives write in their appeal. 

They also note that access to Internet is one of the basic human rights enjoyed by billions of people around the world, and nationals of Tajikistan must also enjoy this right.    

“We also call on you to support our simple human desire to be in touch with our families and friends at this difficult time,” reads the appeal.   

Recall, access to Internet was switched off in GBAO on November 25 after several thousand people occupied a central square in Khorog, the capital of GBAO, in a demand for justice and thorough investigation into the killing of Roshtqala resident Gulbiddin Ziyobekov by law enforcement authorities.

The four-day rally ended in the afternoon of November 28 after several hours of negotiations between the government officials and representatives of the protesters.  The authorities agreed to refrain from any kind of persecution of the protesters, to conduct a quick, impartial, and effective investigation into the deaths of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, Gulnazar Murodbekov, and Tutisho Amirshoev, to restore Internet access in GBAO and terminate the permanent checkpoints in the city.

However, the authorities have not yet fulfilled any of the terms of the agreement reached between them and protesters on November 28.