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Tajikistan’s Fallen Hero: Nusrat Zavkibekov

You are not Forgotten.

Berlin, Brussels (17/5 – 40)

In the vast mountain lands of Central Asia, a small ethnic group located at the crossroads of Afghanistan, China, and Russia is struggling for its very survival in the face of a national program that, some experts argued, is tantamount to ethnic cleansing.  The Pamiris of Tajikistan were granted autonomy by the USSR and reside in Gorno-Badakhshan region known as the GBAO. For years, the Pamiris’ ancient traditions, peaceful religious faith, and highly educated populace, accused by Tajikistan President Imomali Rahmon of being “inbred” and run by “criminals”, have faced a state campaign that replaces the Pamiri society with ethnic Tajiks. This re-engineering of the GBAO climaxed in May and June 2022, when security forces stormed up the Pamiri Highway that leads to China and killed, wounded, arrested, and tortured hundreds of Pamiris who had been protesting the government’s abuse of human rights in GBAO. Nusrat Zavkibekov was one of the victims.

Nusrat was from the village of Derzud in the Rushan district of GBAO. He was highly educated and regarded former employee of “Tojikstandard” in Rushan district. In earlier years, he had put aside his government work to take care of his elderly mother. Instead, he engaged in farming to make a living.

He was arrested in his brother’s house in Vamar village during the crackdown on May 18. According to his brother, Nusrat was shot in the chest by the security forces and taken away. They later found his naked body with a broken arm in the fields in Derzud.

The very eligible bachelor, Nusrat was born in 1984 in Derzud. His mother wanted him to be married in the summer of 2022 and was preparing for his wedding at the time of his passing.