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Posted by admin on 2012/5/26 7:53:00 (2396 reads)

by Maran Turner and Craig Lewis

This election year, Americans are reminded and fatigued at how the campaign season drives rifts between various groups in the country. Wouldn’t you love instead to live in a nation where the President is so universally beloved, he is elected with a 97 percent majority? How about a country that celebrates an annual “Week of Happiness” to foster good health and high spirits? So would the people of Turkmenistan, whose government boasts these “facts.”

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Posted by admin on 2012/5/3 17:12:00 (2378 reads)

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s talk of reform since he came to power in 2006 only serves to make the gap between words and reality even wider in one of the world’s most absolute and brutal dictatorships.

“Re-elected” this year with 97% of the votes cast, he said he favoured a multiparty system and privately-owned media. The one-party system has been abolished and replaced by two new parties … created by the government. There is little chance that government opponents in exile will dare to return home.

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Posted by admin on 2012/5/2 14:00:00 (2348 reads)

Free The Press: Supporting Journalists Under Duress

As World Press Freedom Day approaches on May 3, journalists are being silenced around the world. In too many places, journalists are imprisoned, attacked, intimidated, murdered or disappeared for trying to report the news or exercise freedom of expression.

In the coming days, the U.S. Department of State will highlight emblematic cases of these threats to journalists and continue to call on all governments to protect the universal human right to freedom of expression.

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Posted by admin on 2012/3/31 8:13:00 (3461 reads)

by Serdar Aytakov

There’s a Stalinist-era anecdote that can apply to Turkmenistan today. The story goes that during the collectivization drive in the 1930s, an apparatchik in the Far East sent a telegram to his superiors: “The collective farms have been created; dispatch the collective farmers.”

Such a cart-before-horse tendency is seen in Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s effort to conjure a competitive political system. Turkmenistan, of course, is ranked by numerous watchdog groups as one of the world’s most repressive states. But lately Berdymukhamedov has sought to change Turkmenistan’s image by pledging to establish new political parties. To show the world he means what he says, state-controlled media carried reports on March 26 that government officials are hard at work laying the foundations for two economic-sector-specific political parties – one to represent farmers, the other entrepreneurs.

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Posted by admin on 2012/3/31 8:11:00 (942 reads)

The government of Turkmenistan has defended its rights record before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in New York, asserting that journalists are able to report on any topic they like and that everyone is free to participate in political life.

Commentors in Turkmenistan say the government’s account is fictitious and the Central Asian state remains as repressive as ever.

Turkmen officials told the UN committee, meeting on March 15-16 that torture did not exist in their country and that judges were independent.

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Posted by admin on 2012/3/24 7:51:00 (1161 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 (808 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 (863 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 (916 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 (884 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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