The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Dr. Nazila Ghanea, will conduct an official visit to Tajikistan from April 11-12, 2023.

Press release issued by the UN Human Rights Office says the UN expert will assess freedom of religion or belief, including how it intersects with the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association, as well as issues of gender equality and the human rights of women, children and those belonging to religious or belief minorities.

She will also assess any efforts to promote and maintain peaceful coexistence among different religious communities while countering extremism and terrorism. 

Dr. Ghanea noted the recommendations made by the former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir, after her visit in 2007.

During her 11-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government officials, representatives of religious or belief communities, civil society organizations and the United Nations.

She will also visit cities outside of Dushanbe, having requested visits to Khorog and Khujand.

At the end of her visit on Friday April 21, 2023, the expert will share her preliminary observations at a press conference at the UN Headquarters in Dushanbe.  

Dr. Nazila Ghanea of the Islamic Republic of Iran was appointed the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in July 2022, and she took up the mandate on August 1, 2022.  Dr. Ghanea is Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the MSc in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford.  She has researched and published widely in international human rights law, including on freedom of religion or belief, and served as consultant to numerous agencies.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.  Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work.  They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.