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Posted by admin on 2011/4/27 16:09:00 (1231 reads)

Detentions Underscore Unrelenting Repression, Need for Robust EU Response
HRW Press

(New York, April 27, 2011) – Turkmen authorities have detained at least four people since early March, 2011, on what appear to be politically motivated grounds, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests took place in advance of a key visit by the European Parliament, beginning on April 27, 2011, to assess the human rights situation in the country.

“This latest wave of arrests is a chilling reminder of the Turkmen government’s unrelenting repression of any independent voices,” said Veronika Szente Goldston, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The European Parliament should speak out forcefully against abuses and press for these individuals’ immediate release in the meetings with the Turkmen authorities.”

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Posted by admin on 2011/4/7 11:32:00 (996 reads)

Seven years after Turkmenistan stopped recognising academic qualifications gained abroad, the policy has been reversed, potentially opening the way to educated professionals taking up posts from which they were previously barred.

President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov ordered this major policy change in late March, saying people educated at foreign universities needed to be able to contribute their skills to what he called the “large-scale reforms” taking place in Turkmenistan.

In June 2004, Berdymuhammedov’s predecessor as president, the late Saparmurat Niazov, ordered state institutions to dismiss all staff who had been educated abroad, claiming that they were less well-qualified than graduates from Turkmen higher education. In cases where specialists had to be retained, they were paid less than if they had obtained Turkmen qualifications.

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Posted by admin on 2011/4/5 18:35:00 (1186 reads)

Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that Amangelen Shapudakov, an 80-year-old activist, has been confined to a psychiatric hospital after accusing a local government official of corruption in an interview for Radio Azatlyq, the Turkmen-language service of Radio Free Europe (RFE), one of the few independent media still operating in Turkmenistan.

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Posted by admin on 2011/3/16 14:07:00 (1396 reads)

Human rights activists are urging the international community to apply sustained pressure on Turkmenistan’s government to force it to end some of the worst abuses of civil liberties.

They say the Turkmen authorities need to stop persecuting human rights defenders, end the mistreatment of detainees, respect the right to freedom of movement, and allow non-government organisations to operate legally.

The dismal state of human rights observance in Turkmenistan was the focus of discussion at talks on March 8-11 between Turkmen and Uzbek rights groups in emigration and the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The event took place during a regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, between February 28 and March 25.

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Posted by admin on 2011/3/12 19:37:00 (1143 reads)

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST CYBER-CENSORSHIP

IN 2011, TURKMENISTAN IS STILL AN "ENEMY OF THE INTERNET"

The Turkmen government has curbed the very recent Internet growth and continues to practice widespread censorship. Its monopolistic takeover of the cell telephone market has allowed it to enhance its control over communications. The international community seems more determined to make concessions than to exert any real pressure on this country, in view of its vast energy and strategic potential.

Prohibitive costs of Internet access

Although President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow finally allowed Turkmen to access the Web in 2008, many technical and financial barriers still remain. Internet access is possible, but its generalised use is not encouraged. Apart from the few businesses and foreign embassies which can access the Worldwide Web, the few other Internet users can only access an ultra-censored version of the Internet nicknamed “the Turkmenet.” Very strict filtering is focusing on opposition Turkmen-language publications, targeting primarily local users and potential dissidents, mainly for linguistic reasons. Opposition websites such as XpoHo.tm and Gundogar, and regional news sites covering Central Asia such as ferghana.ru and eurasianet, are blocked. YouTube and LiveJournal were rendered inaccessible late in 2009 to prevent Turkmen from blogging or sending videos abroad. Facebook and Twitter are also blocked.

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Posted by admin on 2011/2/23 11:19:00 (1272 reads)

A new report from the International Crisis Group, ICG, on the gradual collapse of Central Asia’s infrastructure has provoked a debate about the specific challenges facing closed states like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

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Posted by admin on 2011/2/16 10:17:00 (1088 reads)

Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter on Friday to Turkmenistan’s President about threats and intimidation against Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists. Reporters associated with RFE/RL and their families have faced imprisonment, interrogation, been dismissed from jobs, and prevented from traveling abroad.

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Posted by admin on 2011/2/4 17:08:00 (997 reads)

On January 20, at the meeting with parliament (Medjlis) members, President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov pointed at the need of expedition of development and adoption of law “On political parties”, “unification” of the principles of establishment of elected institutions of civil society and called the members of parliament for more active protection of rights and liberties of citizens.

Such seemingly good intents as a matter of fact have nothing in common with the existing reality.

Today there is only one party called “democratic” that is formally functioning in the country, which contains the community of officials and other like-minded persons of the president including him.

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Posted by admin on 2011/1/28 13:41:00 (965 reads)

By Jacqueline Hale
Why it is a strategic mistake for the EU to leave human rights out of energy talks with Turkmenistan and other potential suppliers.
The visit paid by the European Commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, and its energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, to energy-rich Turkmenistan on 15 January is the clearest signal yet of the European Union's desire to buy gas from a closed country famed for the eccentricities of its leaders and its abysmal human-rights record.

Recent trends suggest it is unlikely that Turkmenistan's consistent failure to meet its own international human-rights obligations and uphold the rule of law featured in any substantive way (the European commissioners issued no statement after the visit).

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Posted by admin on 2011/1/25 7:59:00 (1004 reads)

Turkmenistan
In 2010 the Turkmenistan government continued a return to the repressive methods of a previous era. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ruled Turkmenistan for nearly four years, since the 2006 death of dictator Saparmurad Niazov. During his first two years in office, Berdymukhamedov began to reverse some of Niazov's most ruinous social policies. But then his course appeared to reverse. The government increasingly repressed NGOs and Turkmen activists, and prevented citizens from leaving the country; indeed freedom of movement sharply declined in 2009 and 2010. Instead of continuing needed reforms in education in 2010, the government introduced burdensome requirements for students seeking to travel abroad for university, and allowed "Ruhnama" (The Book of the Soul), Niazov's propaganda book, to remain a subject in university entrance exams. Instead of expanding access to the internet and other media, the government blocked websites and banned the import of some printed materials. Prisons remained closed to the outside for observation. Turkmenistan continued to expand relations with foreign governments and international organizations, but with no meaningful outcomes for human rights.

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