GE.13-10604 (E) 010313 060313
Human Rights Council
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
Geneva, 22 April–3 May 2013
National report submitted in accordance with
paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights
Council resolution 16/21
* The present document has been reproduced as received. Its content does not imply the expression of
any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations.
United Nations A /HRC/WG.6/16/TKM/1
General Assembly Distr.: General
4 February 2013
I. To step up its efforts to see through its reforms, as stipulated
in its new Constitution; to meet its obligations to comply with
1. The elaboration and adoption of a new version of the Constitution of Turkmenistan
is the logical outcome of progressive reforms in the political, economic, social and cultural
life of the people. The goal of these positive changes is a further democratization of State
and public life and the improvement of the system of government authority. Public
understanding and the political initiative of the Head of State have laid a firm foundation
for the transformations taking place in the country. The determination of the Turkmen
people to continue along the path of development and the firm intention of the State to
maintain this course constitute the foundation of Turkmenistan’s ongoing development.
2. Turkmenistan is a party to more than 120 international conventions and agreements,
which are the basis of its international legal participation in the protection of human rights
and freedoms and the resolution of socioeconomic and humanitarian problems, and which
include fundamental international human rights instruments, and notably United Nations
human rights documents.
3. Turkmenistan’s membership of a number of leading international organizations is
proof of its efforts to make a worthy contribution to global development. Turkmenistan was
elected to the United Nations Commission on Population and Development for the period
2012–2015 and to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the period 2012–
2015, and it is a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
4. On 8 November 2012, at the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General
Assembly, Turkmenistan was elected to ECOSOC for the period 2013–2015. This event
opens greater opportunities for moving forward and realizing new initiatives and imposes a
heavy responsibility for elaborating and adopting proposals in the framework of the
5. With a view to further protecting human rights, Turkmenistan has acceded to a
number of international instruments, including the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities (04.09.2008) and its Optional Protocol (25.09.2010), the
ILO Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of
the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182) (25.09.2010), the WHO Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control (21.05.2011), the United Nations Convention relating to
the Status of Stateless Persons (14.09.2011) and the Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness (04.08.2012). Legislative work on the implementation of the norms of
international conventions and national law is based on a pragmatic, comprehensive
analysis. For example, following a consideration of domestic requirements for the granting
of citizenship, the President of Turkmenistan signed a decree pursuant to which 3,318
persons living in Turkmenistan were granted citizenship in 2011. This was seen worldwide
as an act of humanism and justice.
6. In March 2009, Turkmenistan held a dialogue on human rights in the context of the
universal periodic review. It has made considerable progress over the past period towards
implementing its obligations in the framework of the recommendations made under the
7. Under the direct supervision of the Head of State, Turkmenistan is carrying out a
successful reform of the national legal system, to which the Presidential Decision of 28
November 2007 on measures for the further improvement of legislation testifies, pursuant
to which a State Committee was created for that purpose.
8. Turkmenistan’s foreign policy is based on the promotion of cooperation and
constructive dialogue with its foreign partners and international organizations. The
implementation in national law of generally accepted rules of humanitarian law and the
recommendations of United Nations bodies is an important focus of progressive initiatives.
9. When elaborating and adopting legislation, the Mejlis (the parliament of
Turkmenistan) examines whether they are consistent with international law as a whole and
international obligations in particular.
10. By way of illustration, reference is made to the rules of the Criminal Sentence
Administration Code, which has incorporated many provisions of international human
rights agreements, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The provisions of the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities have been incorporated into the Aviation Code, and the provisions
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women have been incorporated into the Family Code;
there are many other examples. Virtually all laws and regulations are assessed to see
whether they are in conformity with the norms of international law.
11. A number of legislative acts were adopted in Turkmenistan which ensure human
rights protection in the framework of the legal reform carried in the period 2008–2012.
These include the International Treaties of Turkmenistan Act (22.05.2010), the Courts Act
(15.08.2009), the Procurator’s Office Act (15.08.2009), the Bar and Advocacy Act
(14.05.2010), the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in Turkmenistan Act (26.03.2011), the
Political Parties Act (10.1.2012), the Copyright and Related Rights Act (10.01.2012), the
Refugees Act (04.08.2012), the Migration Act (31.03.2012), the Mass Media Act
(22.12.2012), the Code of Criminal Procedure (18.04.2009), the Labour Code (18.04.2009),
the new version of the Criminal Code (14.05.2010), the Criminal Sentence Administration
Code (25.03.2011), the Social Protection Act (19.10.2012) and the Family Code
II. To strike a balance between the implementation of civil and
political rights and economic, social and cultural rights
12. Legal safeguards constitute one component of the ongoing process on the road to
national progress. The Guarantees of Citizens’ Electoral Rights Act, the Referendum Act,
the Refugees Act, the Migration Act, the Political Parties Act and the Legal Status of
Foreign Nationals in Turkmenistan Act are a non-exhaustive list of legislative instruments
regulating current positive changes in Turkmenistan.
13. The 2011–2030 national programme for the social and economic development of
Turkmenistan, the outline plan for the social and economic development of the provinces
and Ashgabat in the period 2008–2012, the 2012–2016 presidential social and economic
development programme and the presidential programme to improve social and living
conditions in villages, communities, towns and district centres in the period up to 2020 are
long-term programme targets and strategic objectives. The implementation of these
programmes has resulted in the emergence of hundreds of new major industrial, social and
infrastructure facilities throughout the country.
14. The main objective of the latter programme is to ensure that rural inhabitants have a
high quality of life and favourable working conditions that are as close as possible to those
in urban areas. To that end, the State has allocated 4 billion dollars for the realization of
major new projects in rural areas. As a result, comfortable housing, modern schools and
medical facilities with contemporary equipment, cultural centres, stadiums and other
recreational centres have been provided at district level.
15. The 2010–2015 national programme on the early development of children and their
preparation for school is a successful presidential initiative. Safeguarding the rights and
freedoms of children and ensuring favourable conditions for a happy life for the younger
generation are basic priorities of State policy.
16. In April 2011, Turkmenistan ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control, in the context of which the President signed a decision approving the plan of
action for the period 2012–2016 to combat tobacco smoking in Turkmenistan, which calls
for measures for monitoring the situation with regard to smoking and campaigns to inform
the public about the hazards of tobacco.
17. The science and education sector is fully equipped with computers and multimedia
centres. The information sciences are taught in schools and higher education institutions.
The public transport system is converting to electronic tickets and schedules, the health-
care system is moving ahead with electronic medical files, and electronic document filing
and management are being introduced.
18. In the capital and throughout the provinces, dozens of modern telephone stations are
being built, optical fibre connections are being installed between Ashgabat and provincial
centres, communication by mobile phone is expanding, and the use of the Internet is being
rapidly developed at local level.
19. The economic growth of Turkmenistan, averaging 11 per cent over the past five
years, has resulted in a steady increase in per capita GDP, as confirmed by World Bank
experts. Since 2007, the GDP has increased nearly 3.5-fold, and GDP at purchasing power
parity per capita has grown 1.9-fold. In the current year, per capita GDP exceeded the
generally accepted threshold for high-income countries. The pronounced social orientation
of budgetary expenditure in recent years has continued: more than 75 per cent of budgetary
resources are allocated to finance ongoing capital expenditure in the social sphere.
20. Expenditure on salaries, pensions and State assistance and scholarships has been
increasing by more than 10 per cent annually. The population continues to receive free
electric power, natural gas, water and salt as well as 120 litres of petrol per car per month.
21. In 2012, fringe benefits for academic degrees and distinctions and the remuneration
of active and associate members of Turkmenistan’s Academy of Sciences were introduced
in order to promote innovative research and build the country’s scientific capacity.
22. The main focus of the social security system is on the realization of the
constitutional right to an old-age pension and State support for individual categories of
persons, as well as the adaptation of the social security system in conditions of a developing
23. This is seen in the adoption in 2012 of the Act on the approval of the Social
Protection Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2013. In accordance with the Code,
social protection takes the form of a State system for the provision of material protection
and social services to incapacitated persons, persons with disabilities, families with children
and other persons and is operated through the payment of pensions, State assistance and
24. On 1 January 2013, an occupational pension was introduced as well as disability
pensions and pensions for loss of breadwinner (formerly called State benefits for
disabilities and loss of breadwinner).
25. Persons who work under special (hazardous and particularly difficult) conditions are
entitled to one of several kinds of occupational pension. The Code also provides that, in
addition to an occupational pension, a personal pension may also be awarded for special
service to Turkmenistan.
26. Under the national social security system, provision is made for the allocation of
benefits to compensate for part of the income lost in connection with the partial, complete
or temporary loss of ability to work, maternity and childhood, loss of breadwinner or loss of
sources of protection with the start of pension age.
27. On 1 January 2013, a new form of State benefit was introduced for spouses of
participants in the Second World War. Provision is also made for the introduction of other
types of benefits by presidential act.
28. Children with disabilities up to the age of 16, persons with a disability from
childhood who have contributed to the mandatory pension insurance scheme for less than
five years and persons with disabilities who have contributed to the mandatory pension
insurance scheme for less than five years continue to be eligible for State disability
29. In July 2012, the President signed a decree on the increase, as from 1 January 2013,
of pensions by 15 per cent and of State allowances by 10 per cent.
30. On 1 January 2013, Turkmenistan shifted to a modern notional defined contribution
pension system, which will be implemented by the Turkmen Pension Fund.
31. Between 2010 and November 2012, 100 road bridges and junctions were built in
32. Over the same period, construction was completed on the following facilities in the
84 preschool establishments for 12,960 children;
67 general secondary schools for 32,712 pupils;
49 sports schools for 17,765 children;
10 higher education institutions;
23 athletic competition facilities and stadiums with a total capacity for 88,150
5 large racetracks;
11 cultural and recreation centres and 2 libraries with book collections in the
35 health clinics and centres;
3,857,000 square metres of housing;
6,058 kilometres of communications lines.
33. The implementation of these major, crucial reforms and transformations has led to
steady growth in the country’s economy.
III. To disseminate human rights texts; to provide courses on
human rights in school curricula
34. Courses in Turkmenistan’s secondary schools on humanitarian and social subjects
help impart a knowledge of civil law. A course on world history was introduced into the
curriculum for the ninth and tenth classes which provides insight into international
humanitarian law through a study of the basic documents, namely the four Geneva
Conventions and their additional protocols.
35. Social science, a subject introduced in 2007 in the ninth and tenth classes, plays an
important role in inculcating an understanding of the law and legal culture in pupils in
36. A course on the fundamentals of the legislation of Turkmenistan, which has been
introduced into the syllabus of all higher and secondary occupational schools, familiarizes
students with human rights, basic contemporary legal systems and legislative and legal
37. For students at Makhtumkuli State University of International Relations, the State
Institute of Economics and Management and the Turkmen-Turkish University, the course
serves as a basis for the study of a number of other subjects providing a general
introduction to human rights.
38. Reading days, stands, photo exhibitions on children’s rights, book fairs on the
upbringing of children and awareness campaigns on healthy life styles are organized for
children and adults.
39. In the framework of cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the United
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a workshop was conducted during the 2012 summer
holidays for children at the Gyokder and Awaza Health Centre on questions of national and
international legal systems, children’s rights and children with special needs.
40. Special publications of the parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers, and newspapers
and journals distributed by subscription and on sale at newsstands, keep the population
fully informed, in Russian and in the national language, about laws and regulations on
human rights and freedoms as well as international instruments to which Turkmenistan has
41. Together with representatives of international organizations and the embassies of
countries accredited in Turkmenistan, long-term humanitarian programmes are carried out
to raise public awareness of basic international instruments in the area of human rights and
42. The President’s National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights periodically
publishes a newspaper entitled “Democracy and Law” in Turkmen, Russian and English.
The Institute also issues numerous compilations of international and national human rights
instruments in cooperation with other ministries and administrations and with the assistance
of representatives of United Nations bodies in Turkmenistan.
43. With the help of the Institute, and with a view to further enhancing a constructive
dialogue on the protection of human rights, the Government of Turkmenistan has initiated
the joint project “Strengthening the National Capacity of Turkmenistan to Promote and
Protect Human Rights”, which is being carried out in conjunction with the European
Commission, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
44. On 2 May 2011, the Institute inaugurated the Human Rights Information Centre in
the framework of the project.
45. In the course of 2012, similar centres were opened throughout the country at the
Mary State Institute of Energy, the Dashoguz Institute of Agriculture, the Balkanabad
branch of the State Petroleum and Natural Gas Institute and the S. Seidi State Teachers’
Institute in Turkmenabad, Lebap province, in order to familiarize interested parties with
international experience in the area of human rights.
46. The aim of the centres is to help promote human rights by introducing and
disseminating information on human rights and heightening awareness and understanding
of issues in this area. The centres offer visitors a wide choice of material on human rights
protection, including specialized literature, manuals, guides and Internet resources.
47. A compilation of international instruments and national legislation on the rights of
women has been elaborated and published in conjunction with the United Nations
Population Fund and the joint project carried out by the European Union, UNDP and the
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
IV. To strengthen human rights culture and capacity-building; to
strengthen its policy on prevention of child labour; to
cooperate with UNICEF and OHCHR in the protection of the
rights of children
48. A general sense of responsibility for the younger generation is at the basis of all
progressive reforms being carried out in Turkmenistan.
49. In a decision of 23 September 1994, the Mejlis ratified the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child, and on 20 December 1996 it ratified the ILO
Convention concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour (No. 105), the ILO Convention
concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (No. 111) and the
ILO Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (No. 138).
50. On 25 September 2010, Turkmenistan acceded to the ILO Convention concerning
the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child
Labour (No. 182).
51. The provisions of these conventions are reflected in the Constitution and national
legislative instruments governing labour and employment, including of children, as well as
in the Employment Act (12.11.1991), the Act on Guarantees of Young People’s Right to
Work (01.02.2005) the Children’s Rights Act (05.07.2002), the Labour Code (18.04.2009)
52. The constitutional right of everyone, including children, to work is enshrined in the
Children’s Rights Act, which protects children from all forms of exploitation at the
workplace and prohibits their employment in work which would be prejudicial to their
health or hinder their physical, intellectual or moral development or which is related to the
production and realization of tobacco products or alcoholic beverages, as well as the
recruitment of schoolchildren during the school year for agricultural or other employment
unrelated to the educational process (art. 27).
53. Another legislative act directed at strengthening the prevention of child labour is the
Act on Guarantees of Young People’s Right to Work, which prohibits the conclusion of
labour contracts with children who have not reached the age of 16. Children who have
reached the age of 15 may be employed only with the written consent of one of their
parents (or legal guardian), and the work must not interfere with their schooling. In
addition, employers, irrespective of the form of ownership, may not employ persons who
have not reached the age of majority for work in difficult, hazardous or dangerous
conditions or underground.
54. The Labour Code has a separate chapter on special features governing the
employment of persons under 18 years of age which establishes guarantees for the hiring of
persons under the age of 18, enumerates work for which it is prohibited to employ such
persons, prohibits the recruitment of such persons for work at night and for overtime work,
and sets working standards for young employees, special remuneration of their labour,
working time, breaks, rest periods and other matters.
55. In accordance with national legislation, the violation of the labour rights of children
is punishable by law.
V. To improve cooperation with United Nations human rights
mechanisms with regard to the submission of periodic
reports; to cooperate with special rapporteurs by responding
to the questionnaires sent to Turkmenistan
56. The invitation to Turkmenistan of special rapporteurs of the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is currently under consideration.
VI. To pursue its efforts, with the assistance of OHCHR, with
regard to the submission of its country reports
57. Under a presidential decision of 12 August 2011, the Interdepartmental Commission
on compliance with Turkmenistan’s international human rights obligations became the
Interdepartmental Commission on compliance with Turkmenistan’s international
obligations in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law.
58. The Interdepartmental Commission monitors the conformity of national legislation
with international human rights norms, elaborates proposals for improving such legislation
to bring it into line with the provisions of international human rights agreements, including
in the area of women’s rights, and drafts country reports in the context of the
implementation of international human rights agreements.
59. The activities of the Interdepartmental Commission are coordinated by the
President’s National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights.
60. Work has been stepped up on preparing and submitting country reports to the United
Nations human rights treaty bodies. The recommendations of international organizations
are taken into account during the implementation of the norms of international law in
Turkmenistan’s legal system.
61. The Interdepartmental Commission attaches great importance to the holding of
seminars, consultations and working meetings with the participation of experts from
leading international organizations and to the study of best international practices in the
area of the protection of human rights and freedoms.
62. The Interdepartmental Commission regularly conducts an active dialogue with the
regional representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR and other United Nations bodies on preparing
country reports, implementing the recommendations of the United Nations treaty bodies
and carrying out joint initiatives.
63. Based on the activities of the Interdepartmental Commission, the following country
reports were drafted and sent to the United Nations treaty bodies and the Human Rights
(a) The core document was sent to the United Nations in December 2008;
(b) Turkmenistan’s country report on the implementation of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was submitted in December 2008; it
was considered on 18 to 21 November 2011;
(c) Turkmenistan’s country report on the implementation of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was sent to the United Nations in December 2009; it
was considered on 15 and 16 March 2012;
(d) Turkmenistan’s country report on the implementation of the Convention on
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was submitted in
January 2010; it was considered on 17 and 18 May 2011;
(e) Turkmenistan’s country report on the implementation of the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was sent to the United Nations in
December 2010; it was considered on 23 and 24 February 2012;
(f) Turkmenistan’s country report on the implementation of the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was submitted to the
United Nations in December 2010; it was considered on 11 October 2012;
(g) Turkmenistan’s country report on the implementation of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child was sent to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in April 2012;
(h) Turkmenistan’s initial country report on the implementation of the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was drafted and was sent to the
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
(i) Turkmenistan’s initial country reports on the Optional Protocols to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child
pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict have been drafted.
64. Documents were submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in
65. In the context of the joint project “Strengthening the National Capacity of
Turkmenistan to Promote and Protect Human Rights” (2009–2013) being carried out in
conjunction with the European Commission, the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP, work is under way on the recommendations
of the universal periodic review.
66. On 8 and 9 February 2011, a seminar was held on the implementation of those
recommendations, with the participation of the following international experts: Fiona
Frazer, Regional Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights in Central Asia, and Dimiter Chalev, Chief, Europe and Central Asia Section
of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
67. Working groups have been set up prior to the dialogues held in the relevant United
Nations treaty bodies, the aim being to prepare the submission of Turkmenistan’s initial
country reports on the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
its periodic country reports on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.
68. The Interdepartmental Commission recently sent additional reports to the Committee
on the Rights of the Child and to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination in response to their concluding observations. Additional information
prepared by the Government of Turkmenistan for the report on the implementation of the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was submitted in
December 2009; additional information in response to the list of issues under discussion in
connection with the consideration of Turkmenistan’s initial report on implementation of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was submitted in 2008; and additional
information in response to the list of issues under discussion in connection with the
consideration of Turkmenistan’s periodic report on implementation of the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was submitted in 2010.
69. The Interdepartmental Commission formulated recommendations favouring
Turkmenistan’s accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The
Mejlis ratified the Convention on 4 September 2008 and its Optional Protocol on 25
70. In accordance with the recommendations of the Human Rights Council, the
Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women, the Interdepartmental Commission sent recommendations
to the Mejlis favouring Turkmenistan’s accession to the Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(18.01.2009), the ILO Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182) (25.09.2010), the Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (25.09.2010), the
General Assembly Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons (14.09.2011) and the
Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (04.08.2012).
71. The elaboration of the draft 2011–2015 national programme on the early
development of children and their preparation for school constitutes a practical
implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other basic international
instruments on the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of children and young
72. The national programme was considered and adopted at a session of the
Interdepartmental Commission and was forwarded to the Government and approved in a
presidential decision on 27 May 2011.
73. In cooperation with the representation of UNICEF in Turkmenistan, work was
carried out on the preparation of a draft outline plan on improving the system of juvenile
justice in Turkmenistan, the aim of which is to bring the system of juvenile justice into line
with international standards.
74. A draft outline plan on the development of a system of juvenile justice was
examined and adopted at a session of the Interdepartmental Commission for discussing the
implementation of Turkmenistan’s international obligations in the area of human rights and
international humanitarian law and was forwarded to the Head of State for consideration.
75. With a view to improving ways and means of protecting human rights, on 1 June
2012 the President of Turkmenistan adopted a decision approving a general programme for
the development of a system of juvenile justice.
VII. To undertake urgently a campaign and initiate a programme
aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against
76. A distinctive feature of the policy of gender equality is its wide range of measures,
which take into account all aspects of women’s life in Turkmenistan today. These measures
are reflected in detail in Turkmenistan’s third and fourth periodic report submitted to the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2010; a constructive
dialogue was held in October 2012.
77. Seminars were held in 2011 to familiarize the members of the Interdepartmental
Commission and its working group with best practices for incorporating gender
perspectives into national legislation.
78. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Population
Fund, the President’s National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights organized and
conducted international conferences on 13 and 14 April 2009 and on 19 and 20 June 2012
on an exchange of experience on approaches to the government regulation of questions of
gender equality and the establishment and activities of national gender equality
VIII. To step up its efforts, in complying with its international
human rights obligations, and end discrimination of ethnic
minorities to ensure they are able to carry out peaceful
activities without threat of detention or imprisonment; to
eliminate all norms and practices that lead to the
discrimination of members of national minorities (Russians,
Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turks and Kurds)
79. Turkmenistan regards the cultural traditions of all national and ethnic groups
favourably. The celebration of national holidays and the wearing of national dress are most
welcome. Members of all ethnic and national groups have been given a range of
opportunities for all forms of creative work.
80. On 12 March 2010, Turkmenistan adopted the Culture Act, in which five articles
guarantee citizens, irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex, origin, financial situation,
official status, place of residence, language, attitude to religion, political beliefs, party
affiliation or absence thereof the right to participate in cultural activities, to use cultural
organizations and to have access to cultural property located at State cultural organizations.
81. In accordance with article 4, paragraph 3, of the Act, universal access to cultural
property and all forms of cultural services is a principle of State policy in this area. Proof of
this can be seen in the publication of newspapers and journals and the broadcasting of radio
and television programmes in Russian and English.
82. Pursuant to a presidential decree, every year personalities in literature, culture and
the arts are awarded honorary titles for their contribution to the promotion of national
culture, and the President of Turkmenistan announces the winners of the “Türkmeniň Altyn
asyry” contest. Many members of ethnic groups have received these honorary distinctions.
IX. To put in place and apply sanctions against the perpetrators
of domestic violence
83. Turkmen legislation does not contain specific provisions on domestic violence.
However, the Criminal Code criminalizes conduct involving acts accompanied by
manifestations of cruelty, humiliation or degradation or the infliction of other forms of
physical or other harm. Detailed information on this aspect is provided in Turkmenistan’s
periodic country reports.
84. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women called on the
State party to adopt specific legislation on domestic violence, including marital rape, that
ensures that violence against women and girls constitutes a criminal offence, that women
and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress and
protection and that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished. It also recommended that the
State party should conduct research on the prevalence, causes and consequences of all
forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, to serve as the basis for
comprehensive and targeted intervention.
85. Bearing in mind the recommendations of the UPR and the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women, consideration is currently being given to the
legislation and the practical experience of other countries in the area of domestic violence.
86. To that end, it is useful to examine the experience gathered from the point of view
not only of the elaboration of legislation and legislative procedure, but also its actual
effectiveness in the area of law enforcement.
X. To implement the provisions of the Palermo Protocols with a
view to criminalizing trafficking in persons; to comply with
the conclusions of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
and other treaty bodies
87. In accordance with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, those
aspects of activities were included in the United Nations Development Assistance
Framework (UNDAF) for the period 2010–2015 which had not been covered by UNDAF in
the period 2005–2009 but had become new national priorities. This includes strategies in
the area of drug trafficking, border administration, assistance with transboundary trade,
preparation for emergency situations and the elaboration of emergency plans.
88. Pursuant to the UNDAF document, the Government of Turkmenistan is working to
build capacity for the introduction of transparent and gender-sensitive legislation in line
with international standards in the field of combating drug trafficking and organized crime,
including trafficking in persons (International Organization for Migration, the Joint United
Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNDP, UNHCR, the United Nations Office
on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in
Central Asian Countries and WHO). With regard to capacity-building, law enforcement
personnel are assisted in becoming more effective and accountable in providing security
services, with immediate attention being given to issues relating to chemical precursors,
drug trafficking and organized transnational crime. With the help of improved data
collection and a better analysis and exchange of information, the national and local
authorities will be able to practice more effective strategic planning in the area of law
89. Turkmenistan is not a party to the Palermo Protocols, but it has acceded to the
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and
Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized
Crime (New York, 15 November 2000). It is also a party to the Supplementary Convention
on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to
Slavery (New York, 7 September 1956) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (New
York, 25 May 2000).
90. On 14 December 2007, the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons Act was adopted,
which establishes the legal and organizational foundation for combating trafficking in
persons in Turkmenistan and provides State guarantees for freedom of the individual as
well as the protection of society from such practices.
91. Amendments were made to the Criminal Code on the basis of this Act. Pursuant to
article 125 of the Criminal Code, trafficking in persons, i.e. the purchase or sale of human
beings for their recruitment, transport, concealment or transfer to other persons for the
purpose of their exploitation, is a criminal offence.
92. In cooperation with the relevant government bodies, the representation in
Turkmenistan of the International Organization for Migration has worked on a number of
joint projects to raise awareness of the issue, including on:
Trafficking in persons in Turkmenistan (2008–2009);
Trafficking in persons in Turkmenistan: capacity-building for law enforcement
officials and interested government bodies (2009–2011);
Trafficking in persons in Turkmenistan: prevention, protection and capacity-building
of national voluntary organizations (2009–2012).
93. The representation of the International Organization for Migration in Ashgabat has
set up a hotline to provide counselling to the public on illegal trafficking in persons and
XI. To follow up on the recommendations formulated by the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women in 2006, and to adopt all necessary procedural laws
to ensure women’s access to justice, and to enhance women’s
awareness of their rights through legal literacy programmes
and legal assistance so that they can claim all their rights
94. Access for women to justice is ensured through the Code of Criminal Procedure,
article 11 of which strengthens the legal protection of human rights and freedoms. The State
guarantees that victims have access to justice and compensation for injury suffered in cases
and procedures established by law. Article 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure sets out the
right to appeal to the courts for legal protection. Article 240 of the Code of Administrative
Offences requires that cases involving administrative offences must be considered on the
basis of equality of citizens, irrespective of background, social status, financial situation,
race, ethnic origin, gender, education, language, attitude to religion, type or nature of
employment, place of residence or other circumstances. In accordance with article 2 of the
Citizens Complaints Act, Turkmen citizens have the right to submit applications and
complaints to the bodies concerned, either in writing or orally, and they have the right to
submit applications and complaints to the courts in cases and procedures established by
95. The Courts Act guarantees the right of citizens to protection and to legal assistance
in court (art. 12). Article 12 of the State Guarantees of Women’s Equality Act specifies that
women may not be restricted in or deprived of their rights, sentenced or subjected to
punishment other than in accordance with the procedure established by law. The State
guarantees and safeguards the rights of women held in detention, remanded in custody or
serving a sentence in a place of deprivation of liberty, in accordance with the procedure
established by law.
96. Recommendations for improving women’s knowledge of their rights through legal
education are set out in the provisions of the State Guarantees of Women’s Equality Act.
Under article 13 of the Act, the State guarantees women’s equality with men regarding the
necessary conditions for receiving an education in accordance with the Constitution and the
Education Act. The State also organizes public awareness-raising activities, including legal
education, aimed at ensuring gender equality.
97. Guarantees of legal assistance for the exercise by women of their rights are set out in
the provisions of the Bar and Advocacy Act, article 4 of which specifies that the State
ensures the provision of professional legal assistance for all, including for women. The
State guarantees that all individuals and legal entities on the territory of Turkmenistan have
an equal right to receive legal assistance, information on its nature and the procedure for
XII. To bring Turkmenistan’s laws into line with articles 14 and
15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
98. The recommendations refer to access to justice. In recent years, a number of laws
and codes have been adopted in Turkmenistan which contain provisions guaranteeing the
right to a fair trial.
99. Article 5-6 of the Courts Act also establishes that justice is administered on the basis
of equal rights and freedoms and the adversarial principle as well as the equality of all
before the law and the courts, irrespective of ethnic background, race, gender, origin,
financial situation, official status, place of residence, language, attitude to religion, political
beliefs, party affiliation or absence thereof or other circumstances not provided for by law.
100. Pursuant to civil and criminal legislation, all court proceedings are held in open
session, except when this may jeopardize the protection of State secrets. The court may also
take a reasoned decision to hear a case in closed session to prevent the public disclosure of
information about the private life of a party to the proceedings or to protect the
confidentiality of an adoption. In criminal proceedings involving offences committed by
juveniles, sexual offences and also in other cases, the court or judge may issue a reasoned
decision or ruling to hear a case in closed session to prevent the public disclosure of
information about the private life of a party to the proceedings. These provisions of the
Courts Act are in line with article 14, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.
101. Article 14, paragraph 2, of the Covenant is reflected in the Code of Criminal
Procedure, which states that everyone is presumed innocent until proved guilty in a
procedure established by the Code and the court issues an enforceable judgement. These
provisions are also reflected in the Criminal Code adopted on 14 May 2010, article 3 of
which provides that no one may be found guilty of a crime and subjected to criminal
punishment except on the basis of a court judgement and in accordance with the law.
Article 11 of the Courts Act likewise specifies that everyone is presumed innocent until
proved guilty in a procedure established by law and the court issues an enforceable
102. Guarantees in connection with the consideration of any of the criminal charges set
out in article 14, paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, of the Covenant establish:
103. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 3 (a), of the Covenant are reflected in the
Code of Criminal Procedure, article 247 of which specifies that criminal charges must be
served no more than 48 hours after they have been formally prepared. After verification of
the identity of the accused, the investigator reads out the formal charges to the accused and
explains their substance; a note to that effect is made in the case file, and the accused is
explained his rights and obligations pursuant to article 80 of the Code, on which a report is
drawn up, namely:
To know what offence he is accused of and to see the bill of indictment;
To see the records of the investigative and other procedural activities conducted at
his request or at the request of his defence counsel or legal representative and to
enter comments in them;
To testify in his native language or in a language which he masters, and to use the
services of an interpreter.
104. Article 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure also provides that parties to the
proceedings who do not master the language in which the proceedings are conducted have
the right to make statements, give testimony and evidence, make applications, file
complaints, acquaint themselves with the case file, and express themselves during hearings
in their native language or a language in which they are proficient and use the services of an
105. In accordance with the procedure established under the Code, documents relating to
investigations and court documents must be communicated to accused persons or
defendants or other parties in the proceedings in the native language of the person
concerned or another language which he understands.
106. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 3 (b), of the Covenant are reflected in article
80 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: the accused has the right to have a lawyer in cases
established by law, to receive free legal assistance or to refuse the services of a lawyer, to
defend himself in person and, once a lawyer has been permitted to take part in the
proceedings, to meet with him in private and confidentially, without limitation as to the
number or duration of such meetings. In accordance with the Code, a lawyer is permitted to
take part in the proceedings from the moment a suspect is interrogated, from the moment a
suspect is charged with an offence or from the moment an arrest warrant or detention order
is served on a suspect who has been detained or remanded in custody pending charges
being brought, but no more than 24 hours thereafter.
107. Article 14, paragraph 3 (c), of the Covenant is reflected in article 349 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, pursuant to which district courts and courts in cities with district status
must begin the consideration of criminal proceedings no later than 20 days after the referral
of the case to the courts, and, for provincial courts, courts in cities with provincial status
and the Supreme Court, no later than one month.
108. Article 14, paragraph 3 (d), of the Covenant is reflected in article 80 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, which gives the accused the right:
To have a lawyer in cases established by law, to receive free legal assistance or to
refuse the services of a lawyer and to defend himself in person;
Once a lawyer has been allowed to take part in the proceedings, to meet with him in
private and confidentially, without limitation as to the number or duration of such
109. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 3 (d), of the Covenant are set out in article
110 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which gives the accused the right to petition the
person conducting the initial inquiry, the investigator, the procurator or the court to take
procedural actions or decisions to establish facts of relevance to the case and to ensure the
rights and legitimate interests of the petitioner or his representative.
110. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 3 (f), of the Covenant are embodied in article
80 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, pursuant to which the accused has the right to give
testimony in his native language or in a language which he masters and to use the services
of an interpreter.
111. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 3 (g), of the Covenant are reflected in article
171 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, pursuant to which no one may be forced to give
evidence or testimony against themselves or their close relatives.
112. A separate chapter of the Code of Criminal Procedure, on proceedings involving
offences by minors, is devoted to the provisions of article 14, paragraph 4, of the Covenant.
The provisions of that chapter are applied to persons who have not reached the age of 18 at
the time of the commission of the crime (arts. 507–521). Special attention must be given to
the following circumstances during the preliminary investigation and judicial proceedings
in cases involving minors:
The age of the minor (date of birth);
The living conditions and education of the minor;
The causes and conditions contributing to the commission of the offence by the
Intellectual, emotional and psychological development, special traits of character
and temperament, needs and interests;
The impact of peers and adult instigators.
113. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 5, of the Covenant are enshrined in article
436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, pursuant to which a court judgement which is not
enforceable may be challenged or appealed in a court of cassation. A convicted person, an
acquitted person, their lawyers and legal representatives, and victims and their
representatives have the right to appeal the judgement. Civil plaintiffs, civil defendants or
their representatives have the right to appeal the part of a judgement concerning a civil
114. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 6, of the Covenant are reflected in chapter 4,
article 12-146, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which concerns the harm caused to a
person as a result of the illegal actions of the bodies conducting the criminal proceedings
and provides for compensation in accordance with the procedure established by law, and in
article 13, pursuant to which the harm caused to a person as a result of illegal deprivation of
liberty or detention in conditions hazardous to life and health or cruel treatment is subject to
compensation in accordance with the procedure set out under the Code.
115. The provisions of article 14, paragraph 7, of the Covenant are embodied in article 19
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which establishes that no one may be tried or punished
again for the same offence other than for reasons specifically set out in the Code.
116. The provisions of article 15 are enshrined in article 3 of the Criminal Code, adopted
on 14 May 2010, which specifies that no one may be found guilty of an offence and
punished other than by a court judgement and in accordance with the law. Article 5 of the
Code states that the criminal nature of an act and the penalty which it incurs are determined
by the law in force at the time the act is committed. The time of commission of an offence
is the time when the consequences manifest themselves, and in cases in which liability is
established for the actual commission of an act (or omission) under criminal law, it is the
time at which the act (or omission) is committed. A law revoking criminal responsibility for
an act, reducing the penalty or otherwise improving the situation of a person who has
committed an offence has retroactive effect, that is, it applies to persons who committed the
act concerned before the law took effect, including persons currently serving sentences and
persons who have completed their sentences but whose criminal record has not been
expunged. A law which criminalizes an act, imposes a heavier punishment or otherwise
worsens the situation of an offender does not have retroactive effect. If the new criminal
law imposes a less severe penalty for an offence for which a sentence is currently being
served, the penalty is reduced within the limits established under the new law.
117. The provisions of article 15 of the Covenant are reflected in article 4 of the Criminal
Code, in accordance with which the basis for the determination of criminal responsibility is
the commission of an act that has all the characteristics of an offence as specified in the
Criminal Code. Turkmen citizens are entitled to judicial protection against unlawful acts by
State bodies, voluntary associations and officials, violations of honour and dignity, attacks
on life or health and violations of the personal and political rights and freedoms set out in
XIII. To comply with its international obligations for the exercise
of freedom of expression, ensuring the right to seek, receive
and impart information and ideas, including by electronic
means and from foreign sources, and to act against any form
of intimidation of journalists; to strengthen measures to
promote freedom of association
118. Internet services are accessible sources of information for all citizens in the multi-
ethnic country of Turkmenistan. Higher and secondary specialized educational institutions
and secondary schools have access to global Internet services. Public Internet cafes have
been opened in the capital and around the country. The number of users of Internet services
has been growing every year.
119. The Communications Act, adopted on 12 March 2010, regulates the concession of
120. The Act on the legal protection of algorithms, computer programmes, databases and
the configuration of integral microchips (23.09.1994), the Electronic Documents Act
(19.12.2000) and other legislation govern legal relations in this area.
121. In the framework of a programme of cooperation between Great Britain and
Turkmenistan, the President’s National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights
conducted seminars in 2010–2011 on questions relating to the legal regulation of the
activities of the mass media in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) and Europe. The seminars examined a number of regulatory systems, contemporary
legal issues in this connection, the regulation of the mass media in the era of the Internet
and digital technologies, the requisite legal and regulatory basis for the establishment of
commercial mass media, presentations and other relevant questions.
122. In August 2011, seminars were conducted with representatives of the European
Union on the elaboration of legislation on the mass media and on the mass media in the
framework of the joint project “Strengthening the National Capacity of Turkmenistan to
Promote and Protect Human Rights” (2009–2013) being carried out in conjunction with the
European Commission, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights and UNDP.
XIV. To take effective measures for the registration of independent
non-governmental organizations, to reform and simplify the
registration process; to ensure that members of civil society
are allowed to meet with representatives of foreign media and
Governments and international organizations
123. The activities of voluntary associations and religious organizations testify to the
changes which have taken place in the country and the far-reaching process of renewal of
124. As of 1 December 2012, 109 voluntary associations had registered in Turkmenistan,
including 7 in 2012, and 128 religious organizations.
125. On 10 January 2012, a new Political Parties Act was adopted, pursuant to which
Turkmen citizens have equal rights and equal opportunities to form political parties and
participate freely in their activities. If they so wish, and in line with their political beliefs,
Turkmen citizens have the right to form political parties and, in accordance with the
established procedure, freely to join or refrain from joining a party, to take part in its
activities and to leave it without hindrance.
126. The activities of political parties are based on the principles of voluntary
participation, equality, tolerance, self-government, the rule of law and transparency.
Political parties are free to decide on their own structure, goals and activities.
127. The activities of political parties must not restrict the human and civil rights
guaranteed by the Constitution and Turkmen law. Political parties must function openly,
and their programmes, activities and other information must be generally accessible.
XV. To adopt adequate measures for the protection of religious
128. In accordance with the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations Act,
freedom of religion is the constitutionally guaranteed right of citizens to profess any
religion or none, to express and disseminate religious beliefs and to take part in religious
services, ceremonies and rites.
129. No one may be forced to adopt a religious belief, to profess or abjure a religion, to
participate or not participate in religious services, rites or ceremonies or to take religious
130. Foreign nationals and stateless persons permanently resident or temporarily present
in Turkmenistan enjoy the same freedom of religion as Turkmen citizens and bear
responsibility in accordance with the law.
131. Under Turkmen law, it is an offence directly or indirectly to restrict rights or confer
privileges as a function of religious or atheistic beliefs, to incite hatred or enmity in
connection with such beliefs or to offend on such grounds.
132. The Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations Act guarantees everyone’s
right to freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination on religious grounds. Obstruction
of the exercise of freedom of conscience and religion incurs criminal responsibility (article
154 of the Criminal Code). Incitement of manifestations of racial or religious
discrimination is a criminal offence (articles 145 and 168 of the Criminal Code).
133. The regulations for the registration of voluntary associations and religious
organizations approved by the presidential decree of 14.01.2004 establish the procedure in
134. The Ministry of Justice registers voluntary associations, irrespective of their kind, as
well as branches and representations of foreign voluntary associations in Turkmenistan.
135. The Ministry of Justice also registers religious organizations upon submission by the
council on religious affairs attached to the Office of the President of Turkmenistan.
136. The activities of unregistered religious organizations are prohibited. Persons
engaged in activities on behalf of unregistered religious organizations are liable to
prosecution in accordance with the law.
137. At the current time, 128 religious organizations are registered, including 104 Islamic
(99 Sunni and 5 Shia), 13 Russian Orthodox and 11 other confessions.
138. In September 2008, Asma Jahangir, United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom
of religion or belief, visited Turkmenistan at the invitation of the Turkmen Government.
The national bodies concerned, in cooperation with United Nations agencies, are studying
the recommendations formulated in the Special Rapporteur’s report with a view to further
139. It is planned to hold seminars to analyse legislation governing the activities of
religious organizations in neighbouring countries and the countries of the CIS; experts and
representatives of the relevant Turkmen bodies will attend. Recommendations will be
drafted on ways of improving the relevant legislative framework.
XVI. To respect the rights of everyone to be free to leave the
140. The legal basis for the above recommendation is contained in the Migration Act
(31.03.2012), which, in accordance with the Constitution and generally recognized norms
of international law, defines the procedure for entry into Turkmenistan, residence on its
territory and departure from Turkmenistan for Turkmen citizens, foreign nationals and
stateless persons and establishes legal relations in the field of migration in Turkmenistan
and the competence of government bodies for its regulation.
141. Under article 6 of the Act, foreign nationals and stateless persons may enter and
reside in Turkmenistan on the basis of an entry visa in accordance with the law unless
otherwise specified in an international treaty to which Turkmenistan is a party. Article 24 of
the Act guarantees the right of every Turkmen citizen to leave Turkmenistan and to return;
this right may not be refused. The right to leave Turkmenistan may be temporarily
restricted in accordance with article 30 of the Act.
142. Turkmen citizens who leave the country are guaranteed the protection of
Turkmenistan in accordance with the law.
XVII. To take a proactive approach to combating HIV/AIDS
through educational and awareness-raising programmes
143. Major work on the prevention of HIV/AIDS is carried out by the National AIDS
Prevention Centre, 5 provincial AIDS prevention centres and 36 specialized diagnostic
laboratories. The activities of the AIDS services are directed at raising public awareness,
conducting preventive measures, carrying out pre- and post-test consultations, testing for
the HIV infection and preparing and publishing information materials which take into
account the age and specific nature of the target group.
The Act on the Prevention of Illnesses caused by the Human Immunodeficiency
Virus (HIV) (07.07.2001);
The national programme for the prevention of HIV/AIDS/STD for the period 2005–
The national programme for the prevention of the HIV infection for the period
144. The free distribution of means of protection at medical facilities, anonymous clinics
and places where young people congregate is an essential component of the work of the
national and provincial AIDS prevention centres.
145. With support from UNFPA, two youth centres have been opened to familiarize
young people with HIV/AIDS prevention, at which they are taught on the basis of a peer-
146. A course on the fundamentals of health and safety was introduced in the school
curriculum in 2008. In it, schoolchildren and adolescents learn about HIV/AIDS
prevention, reproductive health and healthy living. The Health Information Centre is
carrying out additional activities in the framework of cooperation between the Ministry of
Health and the Medical Industry and the Ministry of Education. In 2010–2011, with
UNFPA support, nationwide peer-to-peer HIV prevention seminars were conducted,
involving 10,150 adolescents, including 8,770 adolescents who spent their summer
holidays in health-oriented centres. Discussion groups were organized for 6,259 students in
higher educational institutions, with the participation of specialists from student health
centres. Twenty volunteers received peer training from senior students on HIV/AIDS
prevention. Seminars were held for 115 persons on fixed-term military service. With the
support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 36 family facilitators were
trained under the Families and School Together (FAST) programme, and they instructed 91
families in HIV/AIDS prevention.
147. In 2009, the Health Information Centre set up a telephone helpline staffed by a
psychologist and a gynaecologist who provide confidential counselling and social and
psychological assistance, including on questions of reproductive health, to adolescents and
young adults. The helpline network has since been expanded with UNFPA support, and
three telephone helplines are now operating in the city of Ashgabat and the provinces of
Dashoguz and Mary.
148. In the framework of an interdepartmental agreement between the Ministry of Health
and the Medical Industry (the Health Information Centre and the National AIDS Prevention
Centre), law enforcement bodies and Turkmen NGOs, a vast information campaign is being
conducted on healthy lifestyles and the prevention of HIV/AIDS/STD and occupational
149. The following work has been carried out in cooperation with UNFPA:
A team of 11 is working with vulnerable groups to reduce high-risk behaviour;
National capacity in HIV prevention among young people is being built up through
the training of peer-to-peer instructors among young men in military units;
Specialists in HIV centres in the provinces who have received training from
international experts trained 124 instructors in 6 pilot military units in 2011 and
provided them with modules developed for those purposes this year;
In 2011, with a view to reducing at-risk behaviour among vulnerable population
groups, safe behaviour training was given to 649 women, and 368 were treated by
Assistance has been provided for the renovation of a walk-in clinic for vulnerable
groups at the HIV prevention centre in Ahal province to lower high-risk behaviour
and increase access to medical services;
Male and female condoms have been purchased and distributed at all provincial HIV
centres and family planning centres in order to ensure access for young people, and
in particular members of key groups, to means of protection;
Condoms have been purchased and distributed to HIV prevention and family
planning centres throughout the country to ensure that young persons, especially at-
risk groups, have access to such protection;
As part of a situation analysis to guide the development of a national HIV
prevention programme for 2012–2016, a study was conducted on the level of
awareness and behaviour of vulnerable population groups. The study showed that 92
per cent of the respondents were aware of the main modes of HIV transmission; 88
per cent understood the need for condom use; 77 per cent knew where they could
receive specialized medical care; and 69 per cent said that they knew where they
could be tested for HIV.
150. As part of a project for the promotion of the mass media, the BBC World Service
Trust, in close cooperation with the Health Information Centre of the Ministry of Health
and the Medical Industry, opened and equipped a studio and developed a new broadcasting
format (Public health – the wealth of a nation) and channel (Altyn asyr) in conformity with
151. A study of healthy behaviour among adolescents and a multi-indicator cluster survey
(MICS) conducted in 2012 included questions to identify the level of awareness among
adolescents and adults about HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS prevention. The findings of the
study are being processed and a report on them is under preparation.
152. The Ministry of Health and the Medical Industry will continue its educational
activities with various population groups with a view to further raising public awareness of
153. Meetings and conferences are held for the public as well as for employees in
organizations and enterprises.
154. Awareness-raising initiatives are conducted for senior pupils at general education
155. Information materials on HIV/AIDS have been produced and distributed to the
156. Seminars are held to train secondary-schoolteachers of courses on the fundamentals
of health and safety about HIV/AIDS prevention.
157. Seminars and postdoctoral training on HIV/AIDS prevention are organized with
health-care professionals, including family doctors and nurses.
158. Specialists of the Health Information Centre of the Ministry of Health and the
Medical Industry actively participate in educational courses and seminars to train members
of the medical profession about the health-care aspects of HIV/AIDS prevention.
XVIII. To continue to improve the situation of education
159. Pursuant to a presidential decree, starting on 1 September of the 2007/08 school
year, education programmes in secondary schools were set at 10 years, 5 years for higher
education institutions and 6 years for schools of medicine and the arts, the aim being to
improve the educational system and bring it into line with international standards. An
outline plan is currently being elaborated for converting to a 12-year education programme
for secondary school.
160. As part of reforms in the area of education and science, the Government of
Turkmenistan continues to support mandatory recognition of school-leaving documents
issued in other countries.
161. Secondary schools and higher educational institutions are equipped with multimedia
and computer technology, making it possible for young Turkmens to receive training on the
basis of an interactive approach, in keeping with international educational standards.
162. Boarding schools for children from outlying districts have been opened at provincial
163. The fact that education is free and generally accessible ensures a high level of
education and literacy in Turkmenistan.
164. Since 2008, admissions to higher educational institutions have increased, and 18
new specialities have been introduced, including: Italian and Italian literature, Chinese and
Chinese literature, Korean, Spanish, agro-chemistry and soil sciences, plant protection, the
global financial market and insurance, international law, international relations and
diplomacy, international journalism, trade and commerce, and industrial engineering.
XIX. To continue its efforts to establish an educational system in
conformity with international standards
165. The Ministry of Education is currently elaborating an outline plan and projects for
State educational standards with a view to converting to a 12-year secondary education
Recommendations which Turkmenistan will examine
1. To accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
To ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
To establish a national preventive mechanism in accordance with the Protocol
(a) Concerning the recommendation to accede to the Rome Statute of the International
166. Recognition of this international legal instrument requires Turkmenistan to introduce
amendments to a number of substantive and procedural laws and norms, in particular the
Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Upon accession, it will be necessary to
regulate, through procedural provisions, the process for the surrender of Turkmen citizens
to the International Criminal Court as well as other procedural questions. The parties to the
Rome Statute must have the possibility of prosecuting such crimes, since the Court will
function solely in cases in which the national judicial system is unable (or unwilling) to do
167. If Turkmenistan ratifies the Rome Statute, it will encounter a problem with its
implementation – the incorporation of the provisions of the Statute into domestic law. For
example, it will be necessary to incorporate crimes against humanity and war crimes into its
Criminal Code. The crime of genocide is already included therein (art. 168); its definition is
virtually identical with the definition under the Rome Statute. The Criminal Code of
Turkmenistan does not provide for terms of imprisonment of 30 years or more for multiple
168. It may also be necessary to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure. Given that the
persons concerned may be held in a temporary holding facility or a remand centre until
their surrender, a detailed regulation of the activities of the officials of these facilities and
centres is needed, as well as of the rights of persons detained with the authorization of this
169. On 10 April 1992, Turkmenistan acceded to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 in
the area of humanitarian law and the two Additional Protocols.
170. Pursuant to articles 49, paragraph 1, of the First Geneva Convention, article 50,
paragraph 1, of the Second Geneva Convention, article 129, paragraph 1, of the Third
Geneva Convention and article 146, paragraph 1, of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all
Contracting Parties must “enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal
sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any […] grave breaches” of
international law. Each of the Conventions contains a list of such breaches (articles 50, 51,
130 and 147, respectively). This is supplemented by article 11, paragraph 4, and article 85,
paragraphs 3 and 4, of Additional Protocol I, which specify that failure to take action in
respect of such persons also constitutes a grave breach (Additional Protocol I, art. 86).
171. Recognition of the norms of international law governing responsibility for crimes of
genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and wars of aggression, which incur
international legal responsibility for their commission, as well as the subsequent
implementation of those norms in the legislation of Turkmenistan would signify
implementation at national level of the norms of international law, including the obligations
under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.
172. It should, however, be borne in mind that recognition of the jurisdiction of the
International Criminal Court means that it will administer justice in respect of citizens of
Turkmenistan who have committed such crimes. Moreover, this question is directly
associated with sovereignty, since Turkmenistan will be under an obligation to surrender
those citizens to the Court, which is at variance with the country’s constitutional principles,
and in the event of accession, it will be necessary to make amendments to national
legislation. In addition, if the Court finds a person guilty, it may order the sentence to be
served in another country. Thus, accession to the Statute calls for careful consideration.
(b) Concerning ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
173. Turkmenistan is conducting specific work in this regard. In particular, it has
elaborated and adopted an Act on the introduction of additions to the Criminal Code,
including article 182, which defines and criminalizes acts of torture.
174. Reference is also made to articles 8, 88 and 125 of the Criminal Sentence
Administration Code, which prohibit the use of torture on prisoners.
175. Thus, measures are being taken at national level to prevent torture.
176. A decision on ratification requires careful consideration. Legislation governing the
functioning of prison systems in countries which have ratified the Protocol must be
examined before introducing legal provisions into the Turkmen system. The advisability of
acceding to the mechanism needs to be studied and the views of interested departments
2. To establish an independent national institute for human rights in accordance with
the Paris Principles, which could advise the Government and receive and investigate
complaints by the public
177. The Government of Turkmenistan is conducting a joint project “Strengthening the
National Capacity of Turkmenistan to Promote and Protect Human Rights” (2009–2013) in
conjunction with the European Commission, the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP.
178. In April 2010, a seminar was held on the Paris Principles with a view to closely
studying the mandate and functions of national institutes which promote and protect human
rights in accordance with international standards. Richard Carver, international expert on
human rights, attended the seminar.
179. In September 2011, a fact-finding trip was organized to the Danish Institute for
Human Rights for members of parliament and representatives of State bodies and higher
180. A study is continuing of the experience and practice of other countries in setting up
and operating independent human rights institutes in accordance with the Paris Principles.
3. To consider the question of inviting special rapporteurs
181. The question of inviting special rapporteurs of the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights to Turkmenistan is currently under consideration.
4. To eliminate the use of torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment in places of detention
182. In accordance with article 23 of the Constitution, no one may be subjected to torture
or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Criminal Code clearly and
specifically regulates measures of criminal responsibility for such crimes against the life
and health of persons.
5. To grant access to detainees to the ICRC, in accordance with the terms of its mandate
183. The Criminal Sentence Administration Code attaches particular importance to
inspections of places of detention.
184. Pursuant to the Code, the penal correction authorities monitor the activities of bodies
in their territory which are responsible for the enforcement of sentences. Oversight
commissions in the administrative offices of the provinces are involved in the reform of
convicts and public monitoring of the activities of bodies responsible for the enforcement of
sentences and other measures of criminal law, the aim being to improve supervision of
respect for the rule of law in prisons and to work with persons released on parole.
Provincial administration commissions on juvenile affairs at district level and in cities with
district status help juvenile delinquents.
185. Pursuant to a presidential decision dated 31 March 2010 approving regulations for
oversight commissions for closer monitoring of respect for the rule of law in prisons and
working with persons released on parole, such bodies, which are attached to the Cabinet of
Ministers of Turkmenistan, were set up in the administrative offices of the provinces, in
Ashgabat, at district level and in cities with district status in order to work with inmates and
with persons released on parole.
186. On 16 July 2011, a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross
visited health and employment facility AN-R/4 of the Ahal province police department and
familiarized itself with conditions there and with the project for a new women’s prison. On
6 April 2012, it visited the construction site of a new women’s prison in the city of
Dashoguz. On 7 April, it visited juvenile correctional facility MK-K/18 of the Mary
province police department. On 10 December, it visited a special section (maximum
security) of the Ahal province police department in the city of Tedzhen.
187. In the course of these visits, the international experts were allowed to see all parts of
the facilities. They were shown the canteens, the kitchen unit, the laundry unit, meeting
rooms, telephone rooms, the secondary school, the library, the medical dispensary, sports
facilities, a production area, a workshop, a barbershop, a club and the administration
building. They also viewed progress made in the construction of a building complex.
188. The experts noted that all facilities which they had been shown had modern
technology, furniture and medical equipment, sports equipment and production units, that
good conditions had been created for schooling and recreation and that the prisoners had
adequate food and clothing, as could be seen by the satisfactory appearance of the detainees
at the juvenile correctional facility. The juveniles receive adequate medical care, and
considerable time is spent on their education. Another positive aspect noted by the experts
was that the organization of work and the installation of video monitoring enable the
administration to reconcile the daily routine with the free movement of the juveniles within
the correctional facility.
6. To protect the human rights of journalists and human rights defenders and ensure
that they are able to carry out peaceful activities without threat of detention or
189. At the end of 2012, the Mass Media Act was adopted, article 4 of which enshrines
freedom of the mass media. The State guarantees freedom of opinion in the media. No one
may prohibit the mass media or prevent it from disseminating information of public interest
unless in accordance with the law. Article 4, paragraph 2, covers State policy with regard to
the prohibition of censorship and interference in the activities of the mass media.
7. Establishment of a constitutional court and an ombudsman system
190. Government bodies and voluntary associations carefully analyse court practice and
experience in human rights protection with a view to organizing work in this area more
effectively. The sole criterion is whether a given institute is efficient and capable of
improving the protection of civil rights and freedoms.
8. To adopt all necessary measures for the liberalization and plurality of the media; to
remove restrictions on the ability of journalists to report and criticize Government
policy freely and without fear of repression; to end the practice of governmental
appointment of editors and senior managers to media outlets
191. The Mass Media Act (24.12.2012) and other laws and regulations do not contain
provisions restricting the nature of criticism that is honest, objective and justified. Editors
are appointed through an objective selection process for assessing whether a candidate has
the qualifications, standing and moral authority to become head of a mass media outlet, as
required for this high-level appointment.
9. To remove constraints on civil society groups and human rights defenders
192. Article 30 of the Constitution governs the constitutional right of citizens to form
political parties and other voluntary associations which operate within the framework of the
Constitution and the law. The Voluntary Associations Act (23.10.2003) also protects the
rights of citizens to form voluntary associations of their choice.
10. To recognize conscientious objection to military service in law and practice and stop
prosecuting, imprisoning and repeatedly punishing conscientious objectors; to put an
end to the intimidation of members of religious communities; to safeguard access to,
and use and ownership of, religious materials
193. Turkmenistan does not impose any government functions on religious organizations
and does not interfere in the activities of religious organizations if they do not violate the
194. Religions must comply with the requirements of the legislation in force. Religion
may not be used to disseminate propaganda against the State or the Constitution, incite
enmity, hatred or inter-ethnic strife, violate moral principles or civil harmony, disseminate
slanderous or destabilizing fabrications, sow panic in the population or unhealthy relations
between people or commit other acts directed against the State, society or individuals.
195. Activities of religious organizations, movements, sects or other groupings which
promote or propagate terrorism, drug trafficking or other crimes are prohibited.
196. Any attempts to bring pressure to bear on government authorities or officials and
any unlawful religious activity are punishable by law.
197. In accordance with the law, the financial and tax authorities monitor the sources of
income of religious organizations, the resources which they receive and the taxes and duties
which they pay.
198. Under the procedure established by law, the Ministry of Justice submits to the
competent government body information on projects and programmes of foreign technical,
financial and humanitarian assistance and grants if their amount exceeds a set threshold or
is not typical for activities of voluntary associations receiving such assistance.
199. The implementation by religious organizations of existing norms and standards may
be monitored and supervised by the relevant environmental, fire-fighting, health,
epidemiological and other government bodies.
200. Pursuant to article 20 of the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations Act,
citizens of Turkmenistan and religious organizations have the right to acquire and use
religious literature in the language of their choice as well as other religious objects and
201. The production, import, export or dissemination of literature which incites religious,
ethnic or inter-ethnic discord is prohibited. Such acts are punishable by law.
202. Religious literature published abroad may be delivered and disseminated following
an expert assessment of its content by the council on religious affairs attached to the Office
of the President, in accordance with the procedure established by law.
203. The production, possession and dissemination of printed matter or cinematographic,
photographic, audiovisual or other materials fostering religious extremism, separatism or
fundamentalism is punishable by law.