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Posted by admin on 2011/7/10 18:46:00 (996 reads)

by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

People who fled the town of Abadan after the explosion of an arms depot last Thursday are now slowly trickling back, trying to find lost relatives and retrieve belongings from ruins, chrono-tm.org, an independent emigre news site reports.

Residents have been helping each other cope, offering food and clothing and preparing makeshift camps on the street, but everywhere there are still missiles scattered around from the accident. Unexploded shells and rolls of ammunition are in trees and bushes, on the street, poking from the roofs and walls of homes, and constituting a grave danger for people trying to return. While military people are patrolling the streets and have cordoned off the area of the explosion, they do not seem to be removing the unexploded ordnance. Everywhere there is the stench of burning buildings, still smouldering -- and now dead bodies, not all of which have been removed for fear of further explosives.

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Posted by admin on 2011/6/8 16:40:00 (1360 reads)

by Deirdre Tynan
A United Nations Committee Against Torture report released June 6 rapped Turkmenistan for maintaining a “climate of impunity,” and called on Ashgabat to address systematic human rights abuses as a “matter of urgency.” The report should complicate efforts by the European Union and United States to tighten energy relations with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s regime.

Reports of torture are “numerous and consistent” and “there appears to be a climate of impunity resulting in the lack of meaningful disciplinary action or criminal prosecution against persons of authority accused of [torture],” according to the Committee Against Torture (CAT) report. [Click here to see the full report.]

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Posted by admin on 2011/6/8 16:34:00 (951 reads)

Patrick Griffith,
Sachi Jensen

Leading media representatives and government officials from around the world are gathering in Vilnius, Lithuania today and tomorrow to discuss the safety and freedom of journalists in the region. The meeting, hosted by the Lithuanian chair-in-office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, is focusing on the “role of governments and civil society in protecting journalists” and highlighting “best practices” among OSCE participating states - as such official conferences tend to do.

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Posted by admin on 2011/5/8 17:25:00 (1002 reads)

Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Ivar Dale, advisor on Central Asian issues at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, was in New York this week to take part in an aptly-titled panel organized by the Open Society Institute, «Human Rights in Turkmenistan: Bleak and Getting Bleaker». (EurasiaNet is funded by Open Society Foundations through its Central Eurasian Project-ed.)

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) has just released a report (in English and Russian) on the Dashoguz Women's Prison Colony in Turkmenistan that provides a rare glimpse into a closed society's even more closed penitentiary system.

The authors of the report cannot be named due to fear of reprisals.

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Posted by admin on 2011/4/28 18:23:00 (1023 reads)

BBC News

Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world - so why is the EU considering closer economic ties with the Central Asian republic?

For almost four years Selbi Amanklychev did not know where her husband was, what state he was in, or if he was even alive.

All requests for information about Annakurban Amanklychev, a geography teacher turned human rights activist, were ignored by the authorities. His wife was warned not to mention his name in public.

When she finally saw him, it was inside a notorious prison in the desert bordering the Caspian Sea.

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Posted by admin on 2011/4/27 16:09:00 (1242 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 (1013 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 (1205 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 (1412 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 (1157 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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