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Posted by admin on 2012/3/24 7:51:00 (1142 reads)

-- And is Peppered with Questions

By Catherine Fitzpatrick.

Turkmenistan put on a very poor performance today in New York at the UN Human Rights Committee, reading long swathes of its own Constitution and Penal Code in mind-numbing detail until finally interrupted by the meeting's chair -- whereupon the Turkmen delegates were peppered with hundreds of questions from UN experts about its appalling human rights record. (The first day's brief summary record is here).

The Human Rights Committee -- not to be confused with the political body called the Human Rights Council -- was meeting in New York for this session (it alternates with Geneva), and it was Turkmenistan's turn to report.

For my money, the treaty bodies, which get little attention from the press, public or even NGOs, are really the best part of the UN system. It is the only place where countries are really called to account for their human rights performance under international law in an adversarial process where they are asked to give account of themselves. The treaties are binding, although there is really only rhetoric and persuasion to use as enforcement. Even so, the process provides a great way for NGOs to get their issues heard, to get the international community to put pressure on a regime that is scornful of their obligations, and to keep following up ever afterwards through the regularly-scheduled process.

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Posted by admin on 2012/3/12 12:41:00 (792 reads)

Beset by online surveillance and content filtering, netizens fight on


To mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, Reporters Without Borders is today releasing its new list of “Enemies of the Internet” and “countries under surveillance.” This report updates the list released in 2011.

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Posted by admin on 2012/2/12 16:22:00 (844 reads)

Five years after the death of long-time leader Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan is holding elections. The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie asks whether the closed Central Asian nation has changed under its new president, who is assured of a landslide win.

"People will vote for the current president because there is no other choice, other candidates are some minor people," said a young Turkmen student.

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Posted by admin on 2012/2/11 20:18:00 (898 reads)

Reporters Without Borders congratulates President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in advance on succeeding in his bid to be reelected tomorrow with 90 per cent of the votes.

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Posted by admin on 2012/2/11 9:37:00 (868 reads)

Amnesty International

Independent political parties do not exist in Turkmenistan and independent civil society activists cannot operate openly. Many opposition politicians have been forced into exile. Many of those remaining in the country have faced house arrest, arbitrary detention, imprisonment following unfair trials and torture and ill-treatment.

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Posted by admin on 2012/2/10 11:50:00 (856 reads)

If the president is going to win anyway, why does he feel a need to talk democracy and pluralism?

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Posted by admin on 2011/12/15 17:36:00 (789 reads)

Here's a shocker: a former Turkmen cultural official is criticizing the lack of democracy in Turkmenistan in Ashgabat, i.e. not from exile or abroad, but speaking inside the country -- and publicly, and using his own name. That's extremely rare in Turkmenistan because of the great risks involved.

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Posted by admin on 2011/11/17 8:08:00 (905 reads)

Open letter to German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle

On the eve of German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle’s visit to Turkmenistan tomorrow, Reporters Without Borders and the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation For Human Rights have sent him a joint letter about the state of freedom of expression in this Central Asian dictatorship.

Dear Foreign Minister Westerwelle,

In view of your visit to Turkmenistan, Reporters Without Borders and the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights would like to draw your attention to the situation of freedom of information and human rights defenders in this country.

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Posted by admin on 2011/10/17 9:40:00 (900 reads)

The conviction of Turkmen journalist Dovletmyrat Yazguliev has outraged human rights defenders, who say that only if the government is pressured by the international community is there any chance the sentence will be overturned.

Yazguliev, who reported for RFE/RL’s Turkmen service, was given five years in jail on October 5 after a short trial. He was accused of inciting a relative to commit suicide, an allegation that colleagues and activists say was fabricated to punish Yazguliev for his reporting, and more generally as a warning to others.

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Posted by admin on 2011/10/13 21:48:00 (1153 reads)

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is taking arbitrary behavior to new heights in Turkmenistan, according to a report released October 12 by a US-based watchdog organization. The report paints a disturbing picture of Turkmenistan’s energy sector, alleging that Berdymukhamedov, even more so than his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov, treats the country’s abundant energy reserves as his personal ATM.

The findings contained in the report, titled The Private Pocket of the President (Berdymukhamedov): Oil, Gas and the Law, have alarming implications for the United States and European Union, both of which have courted Berdymukhamedov in the hopes of getting Ashgabat to do more deals with Western energy firms. Ashgabat is also an important cog in the Northern Distribution Network, a major re-supply corridor for US and NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan. Berdymukhamedov’s arbitrary management style heightens the risk of instability in Turkmenistan down the road, according to the report, published by Crude Accountability, an environmental organization that promotes transparency in the global energy sector.

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