Today, in honor of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international community and the Tajik government discussed the importance of protecting these universal human rights in Tajikistan, including press freedom.

The Embassies of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States in Dushanbe, and the EU Delegation to Tajikistan express their common concern over the periodic blockage of news sites, including Asia-Plus and Radio Ozodi, as well as social media sites.

In a statement released on December 10, they, in particular, say, “We believe that the right of individuals to express their views freely is universal, whether exercised in a public square or on the internet.”

“We urge the government of Tajikistan to provide for press freedom in accordance with Tajikistan’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  We believe that Tajikistan’s long-term prosperity, security, and stability require the government’s full commitment to protecting freedom of speech, mass media freedom, and the right of journalists to work without fear of censorship or reprisal.  Furthermore, access to fast and affordable internet is essential for any country’s economic development,” the statement says.