In early May 2022, it was reported that universities in Tajikistan had been engaged in a pressure campaign, attempting to force students to enlist in the military for a year or risk expulsion.
Despite claims by the Tajik military that students had enlisted on their own accord, multiple sources indicate that, in connection with the military’s “spring call-up,” universities had threatened to expel students if they failed to enlist. Under Tajik law, students are normally exempt from compulsory military service. According to reports, members of the Tajik military are regularly forced to endure hazing and poor living conditions.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about threats of expulsion as a means of forcing students to enlist in a nation’s military. While universities are obligated to comply with a nation’s laws, they should not engage in extra-legal efforts to force students to enlist by threatening expulsion and thus implicitly stripping them of their draft-exempt status. Such measures erode university autonomy, the right to education, and academic freedom more generally.