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Posted by admin on 2020/7/3 19:23:00 (690 reads)

Top USCIRF officials: Hold Turkmenistan accountable for its many violations of human rights.

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Posted by admin on 2020/5/6 3:30:00 (868 reads)

Storm Survivors Need Help, Not Censorship

Last week a hurricane tore through eastern Turkmenistan’s Lebap and Mary provinces. It was one of the country’s worst natural disasters in almost 10 years. But as residents struggle to bury their dead and repair homes, state and state-affiliated, privately-owned media have maintained a deafening silence.

Turkmenistan has no media freedoms – state media dominates, and the authorities block most independent and Western outlets. Authorities also try to intimidate people from reporting on unsettling or controversial news by jailing them on bogus charges, using proxies to assault them, and threatening their extended families.

Authorities have tried to prevent residents from sharing visuals documenting the hurricane’s destruction. Rights and Freedoms of Turkmen Citizens, a Prague-based group, spoke with a woman who security service held for 2 days, together with 29 others, accusing them of sending videos “abroad.” The same group also received reports that security services held another 19 women for the same reason in Turkmenabad, Lebap’s capital, releasing them May 3. The Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights said police are watching for people in cars filming the damage on their cell phones.

Turkmen authorities’ censorship and efforts to prevent information on the harms sustained from becoming public makes it difficult to accurately assess the damage and casualties. Radio Liberty said it confirmed 30 deaths. Turkmen news spoke with a medical official who estimated 300 dead in Turkmenabad. It seems most buildings in the city have been damaged. Smaller towns have been badly damaged by the winds and flooding. Videos are circulating of roofless homes and severe damage inside.

For years, Lebap province has had chronic shortages of food, with staples sold at state-subsidized prices, and scattered reports indicate this problem has deteriorated. This could worsen food insecurity for people living in poverty.

Utilities were restored in parts of Turkmenabad and some, but not all, towns. Conscripts are clearing debris. The authorities might make construction materials available at discounted prices, and one source reported local authorities are rushing residents to repair their homes.

Some reports indicate the authorities may withhold civil servant’ wages for one month to pay for disaster relief.

Turkmenistan’s priorities should never include hunting down people filming news in their region, but particularly now in the wake of a disaster, the priority should be making effective and comprehensive efforts to bring aid to all who need it.

Posted by admin on 2020/4/17 16:06:00 (857 reads)

Turkmenistan is one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world. Human rights violations are routine and severe, the right to freedom of expression is severely restricted and all media are controlled by the state. Torture and other ill-treatment is reported to be widespread, and prisoners are held in conditions amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment, and in many cases subjected to enforced disappearances. Deaths in custody are commonplace and uninvestigated. Believers who follow unauthorized religions and critics of the regime risk being imprisoned on fabricated charges. Women face discrimination, and same-sex sexual relations between men remains a criminal offence.

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Posted by admin on 2019/9/10 15:52:00 (1328 reads)

Statement by the Prove They Are Alive! Campaign on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

The Prove They Are Alive! Campaign

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Posted by admin on 2019/7/15 16:16:00 (1463 reads)

This publication shines a spotlight on Turkmenistan, a country in the middle of a sustained economic crisis that has seen hyper-inflation in the lives of ordinary people and widespread food shortages, all despite its vast gas reserves. This economic crisis has in turn led to the regime's repression of its people becoming ever tighter and its personality cult becoming ever more grandiose.

The publication documents Turkmenistan’s ‘Potemkin economy’, with marble facades, respectable official GDP figures and tightly regulated state shops that mask huge structural challenges and a chaotic black economy. It also details Turkmenistan’s massive human rights abuses that have seen it ranked as the worst in the world by Reporters without Borders and many other global freedom rankings. In particular, the publication draws attention to the massive use of forced labour, ‘disappeared’ activists in the prison system and restrictions on independent journalists and human rights activists.

A key part of the publication’s conclusions and recommendations argues that the current economic turmoil creates new opportunities for leverage on human rights by the international community. It also makes the case that pressure should be placed on Turkmenistan to abide by its UN and international investment treaties, and to allow greater access to UN Special Rapporteurs and international NGOs to help ease the humanitarian elements of the current crisis.

Posted by admin on 2019/4/20 8:26:00 (1798 reads)

The international human rights organization “Reporters Without Borders” has published an annual World Press Freedom Index.

In the 2019 ranking Turkmenistan is ahead of North Korea ranking 180th at the bottom of the rating.

“This disgraceful performance is the outcome of several years of increasingly ruthless repression in which the authorities have relentlessly persecuted journalists working clandestinely as the correspondents of Turkmen exiled media”, the report runs.

In 2018 Turkmenistan ranked 178th.

The neighbours in Central Asia region ranks as follows:

Uzbekistan, where the last journalists imprisoned under dictatorship of Islam Karimov, had been released, improved the ranking from 165 to 160;

Kazakhstan dropped one position down ranking 158th. According to researchers, the uncertainty, surrounding succession of power, made the regime even more paranoiac and asserted the intention to keep the tight grip;

Kyrgyzstan has significantly improved its positions leaping from the 98th to the 83rd place after the former and the incumbent heads of the state withdrew their legal lawsuits against critical journalists;

Tajikistan considerably exacerbated its performance by dropping down from the 149th to the 161st place. Most of its independent media have been forced to close or to relocate abroad.

Published every year since 2002 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists. It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework, transparency and quality of infrastructure, which allows news outlets to operate.

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Posted by admin on 2019/3/28 9:28:00 (1594 reads)

New York, March 25, 2019 -- Turkmenistan authorities should allow freelance reporter Soltan Achilova to freely travel outside the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On March 11, Achilova, an Ashgabat-based journalist who contributes to independent news website Khronika Turkmenistana (The Chronicles of Turkmenistan), was barred from boarding an international flight, according to media reports and Farid Tukhbatullin, editor-in-chief of Khronika Turkmenistana, who spoke with CPJ.

An immigration officer told Achilova that she could not leave the country, but did not provide any explanation or documentation, Tukhbatullin said. According to CPJ reporting, Achilova has previously been detained by police, physically assaulted, and threatened over her journalism.

"Authorities in Turkmenistan should immediately lift the travel ban imposed on veteran independent journalist Soltan Achilova and allow her to travel internationally," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said. "Systematic harassment of Achilova and a handful of other journalists must be stopped as they do the important job of reporting from one of the most closed-off countries of the world."

Achilova was planning to attend a seminar in Tbilisi, Georgia, on a flight routed through Istanbul when she was stopped at passport control in Ashgabat International Airport, Tukhbatullin said.

CPJ's calls to the Turkmenistan Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office, which are among the government agencies that can impose a travel ban on a citizen, were not answered.

Khronika Turkmenistana, which is based in Vienna, and Achilova's former employer, the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Turkmen-language Service, are among the few critical Turkmenistan-focused media outlets, Tukhbatullin told CPJ.

The government tightly controls the internet through the only state provider, and has blocked critical websites, social media, and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Signal, according to CPJ reporting.

Posted by admin on 2019/1/27 8:22:00 (1733 reads)

Central Asia: Want Investment? Protect Rights
End Political Detention, Free Expression Restrictions

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Posted by admin on 2018/10/6 12:33:35 (2179 reads)

Statement by the Prove They Are Alive! Campaign

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has a rare opportunity to raise human rights issues directly with Turkmenistan’s autocratic president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Prove They Are Alive! international campaign said today. Gutteres should urge Berdymukhamedov to end enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan’s prison system, the campaign said.

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Posted by admin on 2018/8/31 8:04:55 (2032 reads)

Statement by the Prove They Are Alive! Campaign

Enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan’s prison system is the country’s most acute human rights problem...

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