The United States is concerned by the recent violence and reported loss of life in the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan. We offer our deepest condolences to the people and Government of Tajikistan for the loss of life and express our concern for the safety of civilians in the conduct of operations by Tajik authorities.
In addition, the United States shares the concern expressed by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, about the blocking of the Asia-Plus News Agency website in Tajikistan — an independent media source reporting on the events in Gorno Badakshan — although we understand this has been resolved.
We reiterate our call for Tajikistan to abide by its OSCE commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the protection of freedom of expression and the free flow of information at all times. We once again commend to Tajik authorities the recommendations of the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media in the area of Internet freedom.
We strongly encourage Tajikistan to fulfill its OSCE commitments by conducting transparent investigations of the incidents that have occurred at the border, and guaranteeing the rights of detainees, including access to legal counsel, humane treatment, and fair trial.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.