End Deportation of Tajik People

In the spirit of the International Day of Tolerance, UCSJ joins the protests of Russian human rights leaders and international human rights organizations against the mass deportations of Tajik people from Russia. This xenophobic campaign is an official, "proportional response" to the sentencing of two Russian pilots in Tajikstan on November 8 for smuggling. This campaign is reminiscent of Hitler's antisemitic actions after Kristallnacht on the eve of the Second World War or Stalin's deportation of ethnic groups in the 1940’s. Leading Russian officials were involved in the anti-Tajik propaganda in the run up to deportation, including Russia’s leading health official who claimed that Tajik immigrants are a health risk because they spread diseases.

It may be that the Tajik court sentence was too strong, but officials and lawyers should raise these questions and solve the problems on diplomatic channels. Russia, by terrorizing its Tajik citizens and migrant workers, is in violation of international norms and obligations. We condemn the use of innocent people as hostages and political pawns.

The flame of xenophobia is a dangerous weapon, and we demand that the Russian leadership end their anti-Tajik campaign immediately.

Larry Lerner