Human Rights Council
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
Geneva, 22 April – 3 May 2013
Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commis sioner
for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 5 of the
annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21
The present report is a summary of 9 stakeholders’ submissions 1 to the universal
periodic review. It follows the general guidelines adopted by the Human Rights Council in
its decision 17/119. It does not contain any opinio ns, views or suggestions on the part of the
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), nor any
judgement or determination in relation to specific claims. The information included herein
has been systematically referenced in endnotes and, to the extent possible, the original texts
have not been altered. As provided for in Resolutio n 16/21 of the Human Rights Council,
where appropriate, a separate section is provided f or contributions by the national human
rights institution of the State under review that i s accredited in full compliance with the
Paris Principles. The full texts of all submissions received are available on the OHCHR
website. The report has been prepared taking into c onsideration the periodicity of the
review and developments during that period.
* The present document was not edited before being s ent to United Nations translation
United Nations A /HRC/WG.6/16/TKM/3
General Assembly Distr.: General
30 January 2013
I. Information provided by other stakeholders
A. Background and framework
1. Amnesty International (AI) noted that in 2010, a Commission to review complaints
from prisoners was set up by Presidential Decree. A I was concerned that the hostile
environment in which NGOs operated and the presence of representatives of Government
bodies on the Commission might compromise its indep endence and ability to carry out
thorough and impartial investigations into alleged abuses.
2. Forum 18 News Service (Forum 18) stated that Pre sident Gurbanguly
Berdymukhamedov had continued his predecessor’s int ernal policies, including tight
control of society and its isolation from other soc ieties.
B. Cooperation with human rights mechanisms
3. AI noted that the authorities submitted periodic reports to some of the United
Nations’ (UN) treaty bodies and allowed the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or
belief to visit. However, several other UN Special Procedures had not been granted access,
with specific mention being made of the requested v isits by the Special Rapporteur on
torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentio n.
4. AI was concerned that Turkmenistan remained clos ed to international scrutiny, that
no independent international organizations had yet been granted access to carry out
monitoring, and that Turkmenistan failed to coopera te fully with the UN human rights
5 Similar concerns were raised by Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). 6 AI
pointed out that in December 2009, the internationa l organisation Medecins sans Frontieres
closed down its operations in Turkmenistan, citing lack of cooperation by the
5. Joint Submission 1 (JS1) recommended that Turkme nistan allow national and
international organizations to conduct independent human rights monitoring; and grant
unfettered access to Turkmenistan for international human rights monitors, including the
ten special procedures who had requested invitation s.
8 JS2 recommended that Turkmenistan
extend a standing invitation to the UN Special Proc edures, particularly to the Special
Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Special Rappo rteur on Freedom of Expression
and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful A ssembly and Association.
9 A related
recommendation was made by AI. 10
C. Implementation of international human rights ob ligations
1. Equality and non-discrimination
6. NHC observed that an area of serious concern was the rights of women, with women
having a second-rate position in society. There was no law against domestic violence,
polygamy was widespread, and discrimination against women took place in the spheres of
education and work. Even women’s clothing was dicta ted in the smallest detail. The overall
dismal health care system was a particular threat t o women who tended to go through many
births, as having a son was preferred by most famil ies.
7. AI expressed its concern over discrimination aga inst ethnic minorities.
to NHC, there was a widespread practice of discrimi nation of people with dual citizenship.
The Government had announced that persons, who obtained their Russian citizenship
before the entry into force of Turkmenistan’s new C onstitution, which prohibited dual
citizenship, would be able to maintain the right to both citizenships. However, in practice,
they were not able to receive the new biometric Tur kmen passport, and were not able to
find a job neither in the state services, nor in an y state institution, undertaking or
13 JS1 referred to allegations that the security serv ices pressurized an
environmental activist to renounce his Turkmen citi zenship and leave the country as an
unofficial condition of his release.
2 Right to life, liberty and security of the perso n
8. AI remained concerned about the continuing enfor ced disappearance of dozens of
people convicted in 2002 and 2003 in unfair trials in connection with the alleged
assassination attempt on former President Niyazov. The authorities had not disclosed the
whereabouts of the prisoners, but according to non- governmental sources, most of the
prisoners were held in the Ovadan-depe prison.
15 AI stated that among those who remained
forcibly disappeared or in incommunicado detention were Boris Shikhmuradov, a former
Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, his brother, Kons tantin Shikhmuradov, and Batyr
Berdyev, a former representative of Turkmenistan to the OSCE.
9. AI observed that it had received reports that pe ople suspected of committing
criminal offences were routinely subjected to tortu re and other ill-treatment in
Turkmenistan. Alleged perpetrators included police, officers of the Ministry of National
Security and prison personnel. Torture and other il l-treatment were used to extract
confessions and other incriminating information, an d to intimidate detainees. To AI’s
knowledge, none of the allegations of torture and o ther ill-treatment in connection with the
alleged assassination attempt on the then President Niyazov in November in 2002 had to
date been investigated.
10. JS1 stated that a key concern was the Governmen t’s use of imprisonment as a tool
for political retaliation. As a result of more than two decades of this practice, unknown
numbers of individuals languished in Turkmen prison s on what appeared to be politically
motivated charges. The Government did free two poli tical prisoners named in the previous
UPR recommendations: Valery Pal was released by a g eneral presidential amnesty in
December 2008, and Mukhametkuli Aymuradov was relea sed after serving out his14-year
prison term. According to JS1, other individuals na med in recommendations remained
unjustly imprisoned, and the government rejected al l recommendations to release political
prisoners and to “account for those prisoners whose fate was unknown.”
18 Similar concerns
were raised by NHC. 19
11. JS1 reported that Annakurban Amanklychev, Sapar urdy Khajiev, and Ogulsapar
Muradova who were affiliated with the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation—a human rights
group based in exile in Bulgaria were arrested in 2 006. According to JS1, Ogulsapar
Muradova died a suspicious death in custody in Sept ember 2006, and no reliable
investigation of her death was conducted. Turkmen a uthorities declared that Muradova
“died of natural causes.” Turkmen authorities rejec ted a recommendation to hold an
independent inquiry into her death. Amanklychev and Khajiev remained in prison, serving
20 AI 21 and JS2 also raised such concerns. 22
23 and JS1 24 reported on another case of incommunicado detentio n since 2008.
13. According to JS2 arbitrary arrests and detentio n of activists continued unabated.
Prior to a visit of an international delegation in April 2011, security personnel arrested two
persons who had campaigned for redress against thei r reported torture in custody and the
unwarranted seizure of their property in the 1990s. At the time of writing, their
whereabouts remained unknown.
14. NHC referred to recent short-term arrests of th ree activists and journalists and stated
that others were subjected to violence, threats and harassment. 27
15. JS1 referred to the alleged forcible confinemen t of two former journalists in
16. JS1 recommended, inter alia, that Turkmenistan: launch a nationwide, transparent
review of all political cases of past years in orde r to establish an accurate number of
political prisoners and begin to provide them with justice; immediately release Annakurban
Amanklychev, Sapardurdy Khajiev, among others, imm ediately disclose the whereabouts
and, if relevant, information on the fate of all th e defendants of the 2002 alleged
assassination attempt on former President Niazov, a nd release their imprisoned relatives;
afford those in detention full due process includin g visits from their family members and
conduct a review of their convictions.
17. AI stated that access to detention facilities f or independent organizations remained
tightly controlled by the authorities. Some prisons , such as the Ovadan-Depe prison near
Ashgabad, had a reputation for especially harsh tre atment of inmates, making it even more
important that independent monitors be granted acce ss. AI noted the increased cooperation
between the International Committee of the Red Cros s (ICRC) and Turkmenistan.
However, AI was concerned that the ICRC had not bee n granted full access to all prisons,
and that the invitation to visit detention faciliti es had not been extended to other
30 Similar concerns were raised by NHC. 31 Concerned about the lack of an
independent mechanism to investigate abuse by law e nforcement officials and to conduct
regular visits to prisons and other places of deten tion,
32 AI recommended that
Turkmenistan: grant full access to all detention fa cilities to independent national and
international monitoring organizations; and establi sh an independent monitoring system for
detention facilities as a matter of priority.
18. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishmen t against Children (GIEACPC)
stated that the law concerning corporal punishment of children in Turkmenistan was
unclear and did not explicitly prohibit all forms o f corporal punishment in all settings,
despite the recommendations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child to do so.
GIEACPC recommended that Turkmenistan enact legisla tion to explicitly and
unambiguously prohibit all forms of corporal punish ment of children in all settings,
including the home.
19. Central Asian Gender and Sexuality Action Netwo rk (CAGSAN) stated that
domestic violence was invisible and marital rape wa s completely unspoken of.
35 The State
acknowledged a few incidents of rape of young women students by the young male
relatives of high governmental officials. There wer e no crisis centres, hotlines, counselling
and case management services for survivors of viole nce.
20. CAGSAN recommended that Turkmenistan take the n ecessary measures to: prevent
rape, including marital and date rape, create a saf e environment for survivors to report
sexual violence and provide comprehensive support s ervices; properly investigate cases of
rape and duly punish those responsible; and improve the response of law enforcement
personnel and the judiciary to sexual violence, inc luding by recruiting more female police
officers and by training judicial and security pers onnel on responding to sexual violence.
21. CAGSAN reported that sex work was criminalized. Sex workers faced stigma and
discrimination in their communities and authorities and police officers allegedly beat, raped
and blackmailed them.
22. CAGSAN further recommended that Turkmenistan pr otect the most
underrepresented and at-risk women – and their righ t to human dignity and freedom from
torture, violence and criminalization – lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, sex
workers, women drug users and women living with HIV . 39
23. JS3 stated that the Conscription and Military Service Act , as amended on 25th
September 2010, raised the minimum age for voluntar y military service to 20 years of age.
In Article 2 (23) of the same Act, however, enrolme nt in military schools was permitted
from the age of 15, and all those so enrolled were classified as members of the armed
40 This was not only inconsistent with Turkmenistan’s Declaration (on accession to
the OP-CRC-AC), but contravened the Optional Protoc ol itself, which prohibited all
recruitment below the age of 16.
24. JS3 referred to NGO contacts in Turkmenistan wh ich noted that the alleged use of
military conscripts to provide forced labour in the civilian economy remained endemic.
3. Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law
25. AI stated that impunity for torture and other i ll-treatment was the norm in
Turkmenistan, with complaints by victims rarely bei ng pursued.
26. AI recommended that Turkmenistan: ensure that n o statement obtained as a result of
torture or other ill-treatment is used as evidence in trial proceedings, except as evidence
against a person accused of torture or other ill-tr eatment; ensure prompt, thorough,
independent and impartial investigations into all c omplaints of torture or other ill-treatment
and that those responsible are held to account; and ensure that all trials scrupulously uphold
international standards for fair trial.
27. AI recommended that Turkmenistan: immediately r eveal the fate and whereabouts
of all those subjected to enforced disappearance; i nvestigate all cases of enforced
disappearance and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials; ensure
that all those sentenced to long-term imprisonments following the November 2002 events,
are retried in proceedings which meet international standards on fairness and to which
international trial observers have access; make pub lic the names of all prisoners who died
in custody; conduct thorough, impartial and indepen dent investigations into the
circumstances of their deaths, and publicize the re sults.
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life 28. According to CAGSAN, Turkmenistan’s legislation criminalized only consensual
relationships between two adult men. The state resp onse in 2008, in support of “traditional
values and culture” and keeping the discriminatory article in the criminal code of
Turkmenistan, indicated the threat of non-acceptanc e of homosexuality, where women and
men could become targets if they did not fit the cu ltural stereotypes of femininity and
masculinity in Turkmenistan.
5. Freedom of movement 29. JS1 noted that Turkmenistan accepted the recom mendation to “respect the rights of
everyone to be free to leave and return to their ow n country, in conformity with article 12
of the ICCPR” and rejected a recommendation to revo ke travel bans on human rights
JS1 reported that the Turkmen authorities continued to arbitrarily interfere with
and control residents’ right to leave and return to Turkmenistan through an informal and
arbitrary system of travel bans commonly imposed on activists, their families, and relatives
of exiled dissidents. While a handful of civil soci ety and political activists who had
previously been banned from foreign travel had been permitted to travel abroad, a so-called
“blacklist” of names of people banned from leaving the country was still in place. A secret
presidential decree, which reportedly entered into force in August 2010, was believed to
include the names of more than 37,000 individuals w ho were not allowed to leave or enter
Turkmenistan. 47 Similar concerns were raised by AI. 48
30. JS1 referred to specific individuals who had no t been able to travel to other countries
for the purpose of work, study, visits to relatives and friends, medical treatment, and the
49 NHC also referred to Turkmens who studied abroad h aving been denied exit
permission to continue their studies after spending their summer holiday in Turkmenistan. 50
AI added that AI, the Open Society Foundation and M emorial were included on a list of
human rights organizations barred from entry into t he country, alongside 8,000 named
31. JS1 reported that the Government of Turkmenista n rejected a recommendation to
abolish the mandatory residence registration system (propiska) that denied freedom of
movement for people within the country. The system of mandatory registration at one’s
place of residence remained in force in Turkmenista n, preventing residents from legally
residing, working, buying real estate, using public health care services, or placing their
children in schools outside the city or settlement where they were registered. It was often
very difficult to change the place of registration, especially when moving to large cities
such as the capital Ashgabat.
52 According to AI, citizens caught without a valid “ propiska”
or only holding a temporary registration of residen ce were subjected to administrative
punishment. The threat of losing one’s “propiska” was allegedly used by the police and
security services to discourage people from complai ning of ill-treatment by the police, and
also as a means of income through bribes.
32. AI noted that in order to obtain a “propiska” c itizens must present proof of their
entitlement to accommodation, such as a rental cont ract or a contract certifying the
purchase of accommodation. The refusal of a “propis ka” might cut off access to social
benefits such as child benefits or pension payments , and restrict rights to education and
54 Related information on an individual case was prov ided by JS1. 55
6. Freedom of religion or belief, expression, asso ciation and peaceful assembly, and right
to participate in public and political life
33. Forum 18 found no improvement in the country’s record on freedom of thought,
conscience and belief compared to the previous revi ew in 2008.
56 The European
Association of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses (EAJCW ) referred to the non-implementation
of recent recommendations made by special procedure s, particularly the Special Rapporteur
on freedom of religion, and treaty bodies.
34. NHC reported that religious believers were put in prison for carrying out their belief.
This included conscientious objectors as well as be lievers accused of unregistered religious
activity. Few religious organizations had been regi stered since this possibility re-occurred
in 2004, and those that were registered were subjec ted to strict control. Religious literature
was confiscated and censored, and there were restri ctions on religious education. Freedom
of religion or belief was severely restricted for t hose belonging to so-called non-traditional
religious communities, coinciding with the extensiv e discrimination of minority groups in
Turkmenistan, including Azeri and Iranian Shia Musl ims, Armenian Apostolic Christians,
Jews and religious minorities such as Pentecostals, Baptists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Forum 18 referred to allegations that the authoriti es’ earlier removal from office of imams
from the ethnic Uzbek minority in the northern Dash oguz region and their replacement with
ethnic Turkmen imams was racially-motivated.
35. According to Forum 18, the Government role give n to religious leaders, particularly
giving them the right to interfere in the activity of other faiths, was violating the
Constitutional separation of religion and the State . Particular reference was made to one of
the deputy chairmen of the Gengesh for Religious Affairs from the Russian Orthodox
Church, who had particular responsibility for Chris tian affairs. 60
36. Forum 18 reported that Shia Muslims, the Armeni an Apostolic Church, Protestant
communities and the Jehovah’s Witnesses had applica tions for registration rejected or felt
unable to submit applications because of the tight restrictions imposed.
37. Forum 18 stated that unregistered religious com munities faced regular raids by
secret police officers, backed up by ordinary polic e officers (especially from the 6th
Department), officials of the local administration and local religious affairs officials.
Registered religious communities had also suffered from such raids or, more frequently,
38. Forum 18 reported that Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev, leader of a Protestant church in
Mary, was imprisoned from August 2010 to February 2 012 on charges his community
insisted were fabricated to punish him for his reli gious activity. Forum 18 also referred to
the imprisonment of two Jehovah’s Witnesses on the charge of “spreading pornography”.
One of whom, had since been amnestied. 63
39. Forum 18 stated that places of worship were tig htly restricted – with many faiths not
being allowed any place of worship. Other religious minorities had been denied permission
to buy land and build places of worship or buy buil dings to use as places of worship.
Communities with state registration often could not rent premises for worship.
allegedly indicated to Forum 18 that no compensatio n would be offered to Muslims for
mosques destroyed in 2004-5; the Armenian Apostolic Church would get no compensation
nor be allowed to get back their century-old church in Turkmenbashi, partially destroyed in
2005; nor would the Adventist and Hare Krishna comm unities be compensated for their
places of worship destroyed in 1999; and nor would Ashgabad’s Baptist and Pentecostal
communities be able to get back their places of wor ship confiscated in 2001.
40. Forum 18 indicated that obstructions to travell ing abroad made it difficult to take
part in international gatherings. Only about 188 pi lgrims were allowed to travel on each
year’s pilgrimage to Mecca.
66 No religious literature might be published in Turk menistan or
imported into the country without permission from t he Gengesh. 67 Forum 18 made
recommendations to address its concerns. 68
41. EAJCW stated that Turkmenistan had no provision for alternative civilian service.
Article 219(1) of Turkmenistan’s Criminal Code made it a criminal offence to “evade”
military service, punishable by up to 24 months of imprisonment. Article 18(4) of
Turkmenistan’s law “On Conscription and Military Se rvice” expressly permitted the
repeated prosecution and imprisonment of conscienti ous objectors to military service. In
2012, eight conscientious objectors, who were Jehov ah’s Witnesses, had been charged and
convicted for refusing military service: two of who m had been prosecuted and convicted
69 Detailed information was submitted on two specific cases of Jehovah’s Witnesses
who were conscientious objectors. 70 EAJCW indicated that most conscientious objectors
were sent to the Seydi labor camp and referred to r eported inhumane conditions there. 71
42. According to JS3, a member of the Mejlis (Parli ament) Committee on the Protection
of Human Rights and Freedoms was reported in Septem ber 2011 as saying that an
Alternative Service Law would be considered in 2012 , but he admitted that the drafting had
not begun. One year later, there had been no report s of further progress.
72 Similar concerns
were expressed by Forum 18. 73
43. EAJCW recommended that Turkmenistan: desist fro m subjecting imprisoned
conscientious objectors to inhumane and degrading t reatment; grant amnesty to Jehovah’s
Witnesses imprisoned as conscientious objectors to military service ; provide conscientious
objectors to military service with genuine alternat ive civilian service, which is not
controlled, directed, or supervised by the military . 74 Forum 18 also recommended that
Turkmenistan introduce a civilian alternative to co mpulsory military service. 75
44. AI considered that there had been no genuine at tempt on the part of the authorities to
improve the situation with respect to the commitmen ts Turkmenistan made to guarantee
freedom of expression, association and assembly and prevent harassment and intimidation
of journalists. On the contrary, freedom of express ion continued to be under threat and
critical media reporting was rarely tolerated. AI’ s research showed that journalists, human
rights defenders and other activists continued to b e subjected to harassment, torture and
other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and impris onment following unfair trials.
reported that the authorities had on many occasions attempted to silence correspondents of
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
77 Turkmenistan had also failed to take measures to a llow
independent non-governmental organizations to work freely without harassment, or to
reform the registration process for such organizati ons.
45. JS2 stated that all mass media outlets in Turkm enistan were required to secure a
government license, but the fees for a license vari ed considerably according to the
applicant. Government outlets were not expected to pay a fee to establish a newspaper.
According to recent estimates, independent entities that sought to open a newspaper must
pay approximately US$30,000. All licenses must be a pproved by the state publishing
agency, and then by the Ministry of Internal Affair s and the Cabinet of Ministers.
46. According to JS2, access to foreign media was s everely restricted. With few
exceptions, Turkmen citizens were not permitted to subscribe to any foreign periodicals at
their home address. Media outlets were generally pr oscribed from reprinting international
47. JS1 stated that internet access remained limite d and heavily controlled by the State.
The country’s only internet service provider was st ate-operated, and websites for the exiled
political opposition, international human rights or ganizations, and foreign-based news
organizations were blocked. Social network sites su ch as Livejournal, Facebook, Twitter
and YouTube were also often unavailable. Internet c afes required visitors to present their
passports. The government was known to monitor elec tronic and telephone
48. JS1 reported that following the July 2011 explo sion in Abadan, the Government
concealed information about the explosion, sealed t he city, and temporarily shut down
mobile and internet lines, hindering people’s effor ts to locate loved ones and concealing the
extent of destruction.
82 Specific allegations: of the censoring of the repo rting of the Abadan
explosion by a correspondent for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty were made by JS2; 83
and of the hacking of an exiled human rights group’ s web site publishing information about
the Abadan explosion were made by JS1.
49. CAGSAN reported that the Government of Turkmeni stan had created rigid
regulations for citizens, civil society, internatio nal organizations and researchers to access
country data, statistics and to conduct scientific research. Very few researchers were
allowed into the country and only for the purpose o f research on history prior to 1800s.
Researchers were required to be accompanied by nati onal security officer and provided
with government-outreached respondents.
85 Related concerns were raised by NHC. 86
50. According to JS2, the Law on Public Associations, adopted in 2003, created
numerous obstacles to the effective realisation of the right to freedom of association,
including onerous barriers to registration, draconi an limitations on access to foreign
funding and wide discretionary powers to intervene in the internal affairs of civil society
organizations (CSOs). JS2 stated that the Governmen t’s continued discriminatory and
politicised invocation of the law to silence indepe ndent civil society was of great concern.
51. JS2 observed that national Public Associations (PAs) were expected to have at least
500 members to register. All founders, members and participants were to be adult Turkmen
88 JS2 stated that from 2008 to late 2010, only one n ew independent CSO, the
Society of Guitarists, was registered. The effects of the law were severely exacerbated by
the Government’s complete injunction on independent human rights monitoring in
Turkmenistan. Almost all international CSOs, includ ing service-delivery organisations, had
been disallowed from maintaining branch offices in Turkmenistan.
52. JS2 also explained that under the Law on Public Associations the Government
through the Ministry of Justice and regional minist erial branches, could insert a ministerial
representative into PA events and meetings. Further more, PAs were only permitted to
“maintain international contacts and relationships” and forge inter-organizational
agreements with the “involvement” of the Ministry o f Foreign Affairs.
90 JS1 91 and JS2 92
made recommendations, including to: reform the Law on Public Associations and to
simplify the procedures for registration.
53. JS1 emphasized that Turkmenistan failed to resp ond to UPR recommendations to
ensure that human rights defenders could carry out work without harassment, threat, and
54. NHC observed that there were a very limited num ber of activists who, to great
danger for themselves and family members, tried to shed light on the dismal human rights
55. JS2 stated that national level independent civi l society activists were strictly limited
in their ability to meet and communicate with inter national actors. It was reported that civil
society groups were regularly prevented from meetin g with international delegations from
Governments, the United Nations and the Organisatio n for Security and Cooperation in
95 JS1 96 and JS2 97 referred to the case of a person arrested prior to the
arrival of members of an international delegation i n April 2011, who was later amnestied.
56. AI stated that independent civil society activi sts were unable to operate openly and
some were forced to live in exile. Fear for dissid ents’ safety heightened in September 2010
when President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov called on the Ministry of National Security
to fight those who, according to the government web site, “defame our democratic law
based secular state and try to destroy the unity an d solidarity of our society.”
98 According to
JS1, the President’s speech came the day after a sa tellite channel broadcast an interview
with exiled Turkmen activist Farid Tukhbatullin, ch air of the Turkmen Initiative for Human
Rights (TIHR). Allegations were made of threats to Tukhbatullin.
57. According to CAGSAN, women human rights defende rs faced multiple
discrimination based on their gender, they were exp osed to sexual harassment and assault,
experienced a travel ban and experienced detention in prisons that are overcrowded and
catered to men. Allegedly similar experiences were faced by the women who were in an
intimate partnership or marriage with male human ri ghts defenders and political prisoners.
They were often denied freedom of movement and acce ss to formal employment and were
pushed into the informal sector.
58. JS2 stated that severe limitations existed on t he realisation of the right to peaceful
assembly. In practice, the threat of government rep risals greatly discouraged groups from
holding demonstrations and protests. The authoritie s also required citizens to secure a
permit to hold a public protest, while unregistered organisations were routinely refused
permission to hold public gatherings.
101 On 8 July 2011, a rare public protest was reported ly
staged by a group of fifty people outside Hotel Ogu zkent in central Ashgabat. The group
gathered in protest against the proposed demolition of an apartment complex with the aim
of clearing space for the construction of a highway . Allegedly, the police immediately
dispersed the group and arrested four female protes ters suspected of organising the
59. JS2 recommended to Turkmenistan that best pract ices should be adopted on freedom
of peaceful assembly, as put forward by the UN Spec ial Rapporteur on the Right to
Peaceful Assembly and Association in his annual rep ort (2012) and by the OSCE Oﬃce for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ (ODIHR) G uidelines on Freedom of Peaceful
Assembly (2007), which call for simple notification rather than explicit permission to
60. AI stated that on 11 January 2012, the Law on Political Parties, which formally
legalized the formation of political parties, was a dopted by Turkmenistan’s Parliament.
However, Turkmenistani human rights defenders and o pposition political activists living in
exile had expressed doubt about the application of the new law and the willingness of the
authorities to allow open political debate. On 21 A ugust 2012, a second political party, the
Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, was esta blished. This was the first time since
1991 that an alternative to the ruling Turkmenistan Democratic Party had been allowed.
61. NHC reported that no election had ever been fre e or transparent in Turkmenistan,
and the OSCE/ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission did not see that even a limited election
observation mission would add any value to the Pres idential elections in February 2012.
NHC alleged that engaging in politics on an indepen dent platform was impossible in
practice, even if the President had now established a second government-supportive
7. Right to work and to just and favourable condit ions of work
62. NHC observed that there was no independent trad e union in Turkmenistan.
8. Right to social security and to an adequate sta ndard of living
63. According to Forum 18, poverty was widespread.
64. JS1 reported that the local authorities in Ashg abat and the surrounding area had
evicted, expropriated, and demolished homes of resi dents without a court ruling or
providing adequate compensation, alternative accomm odation, or notice. The demolitions
made way for construction as part of a massive urba n renewal project initiated in the late
1990s. While official statistics were not published , Human Rights Watch estimated that in
the past decade the projects had displaced thousand s of residents.
108 JS1 recommended that
Turkmenistan ensure that all further house expropri ations, evictions, and demolitions are
halted until they can be carried out in a manner co nsistent with Turkmen national law and
Turkmenistan’s international commitments, and ensur e that property owners have access to
alternative accommodation to which they are entitle d under national law or fair
compensation to which they are entitled under inter national law.
9. Right to health 65. CAGSAN stated that women living with HIV were p olitically non-existent in
Turkmenistan as government officially declares the country is HIV-free. There were high
rates of other STIs, low condom use and double stig ma by both women and men and
mediocre access to contraception. The Family Code o f Turkmenistan violated the rights of
women living with HIV as it required disclosure of HIV status to the partner regardless of
the woman’s consent and was a ground to divorce a w oman.
66. According to CAGSAN, there was stronger stigma attached to women drug users as
heroin use was often perceived as a male issue and tabooed for women. Women drug users
were not provided harm reductions services, overdos e and abscess treatment.
67. CAGSAN recommended that Turkmenistan protect and fulfil the right to health and
non-discrimination for women, especially those at-r isk – lesbian, bisexual and transgender
women, sex workers, women drug users and women livi ng with HIV.
10. Right to development 68. According to NHC, there was increasing interest in the construction boom in the
closed country, as well as Turkmenistan’s vast natu ral resources.
1 The stakeholders listed below have contributed inf ormation for this summary; the full texts of all
original submissions are available at: www.ohchr.or g.
AI Amnesty International , London, United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland;
CAGSAN Central Asian Gender and Sexuality Action Net work, Almaty,
EAJCW The European Association of Jehovah’s Chri stian Witnesses,
Forum 18 Forum 18 News Service, Oslo, Norway;
GIEACPC Global Initiative to End All Corporal Pun ishment of Children, United
JS1 Joint Submission 1: Human Rights Watch, Uni ted States of America,
Freedom Now, DC Washington, United States, Turkm en Initiative for
Human Rights, Vienna, Austria.
JS2 Joint Submission 2: CIVICUS : World Alliance fo r Citizen
Participation, Johannesburg, South Africa and T urkmenistan Helsinki
JS3 Joint Submission 3: International Fellowsh ip of Reconciliation
(IFOR), BK Alkmaar, The Netherlands, and Conscien ce and Peace
Tax International (CPTI), Leuven, Belgium;
NHC Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Oslo, Norway.
2 AI, p. 2.
3 Forum 18, para. 3.
4 AI, p. 1.
5 AI, p. 1.
6 NHC, pp. 1-2.
7 AI, p. 2.
8 JS1, p. 5, recommendations.
9 JS2, para. 6.5, recommendations.
10 AI, p. 5, recommendations.
11 NHC, p. 2.
12 AI, p. 1.
13 NHC, p. 1.
14 JS1, p. 4.
15 AI, p. 3.
16 AI, p. 4.
17 AI, p. 3.
18 JS1, p. 1.
19 NHC, p. 1.
20 JS1, p. 1.
21 AI, p. 3.
22 JS2, para. 4.4.
23 NHC, p. 1.
24 JS1, p. 1.
25 JS2, para. 3.4.
26 JS2, para. 3.4.
27 NHC, p. 1.
28 JS1, p. 2.
29 JS1, p. 5.
30 AI, p. 3.
31 NHC, p. 2.
32 AI, p. 2.
33 AI, p. 5. recommendations.
34 GIEACPC, p. 1.
35 CAGSAN, para. 9.
36 CAGSAN, para. 11.
37 CAGSAN, p. 4, recommendations.
38 CAGSAN, para. 13.
39 CAGSAN, p. 4, recommendations.
40 JS3, para. 28.
41 JS3, para. 28. See also para. 26.
42 JS3, para. 30.
43 AI, p. 3.
44 AI, p. 5. recommendations.
45 AI, p. 5. recommendations.
46 CAGSAN, para. 12.
47 JS1, p. 4.
48 AI, p. 4.
49 JS1, pp. 4-5.
50 NHC, p. 2.
51 AI, p. 4.
52 JS1, p. 4.
53 AI, p. 4.
54 AI, p. 4.
55 JS1, p. 3.
56 Forum 18, para. 1.
57 EAJCW, paras. 23-30.
58 NHC, p. 1.
59 Forum 18, para. 5.
60 Forum 18, para. 8.
61 Forum 18, para. 11. See also EAJCW, paras. 2 and 31 (4).
62 Forum 18, para. 13.
63 Forum 18, para. 28.
64 Forum 18, para. 17.
65 Forum 18, para. 18.
66 Forum 18, para. 15.
67 Forum 18, para. 25.
68 Forum 18, para. 30.
69 EAJCW, para. 3.
70 EAJCW, paras. 10-22.
71 EAJCW, para. 6. See also, JS3, para. 21.
72 JS3, para. 18.
73 Forum 18, para. 29.
74 EACJW, para. 31.
75 Forum 18, para. 30.
76 AI, p. 1.
77 AI, p. 2. See also, JS1, p.2.
78 AI, p. 1.
79 JS2, para. 4.2.
80 JS2, para 4.3.
81 JS1, p. 2.
82 JS1, p. 2.
83 JS2, para. 4.5.
84 JS1, p. 3.
85 CAGSAN, para. 6.
86 NHC, p. 2.
87 JS2, para. 2.1.
88 JS2, para. 2.2.
89 JS2, para. 2.5.
90 JS2, para. 2.3.
91 JS1, p. 5.
92 JS2, para. 6.1.
93 JS1, p. 3.
94 NHC, p. 2.
95 JS2, para. 3.2.
96 JS1, p. 3.
97 JS2, para. 3.2. See also, JS2, para. 3.4.
98 AI, p. 3.
99 JS1, p. 4.
100 CAGSAN, para. 4.
101 JS2, para. 5.1.
102 JS2, para. 5.2.
103 JS2, para. 6.4, recommendations.
104 AI, p. 2.
105 NHC, p. 2.
106 NHC, p. 2.
107 Forum 18, para.3.
108 JS1, p. 5.
109 JS1, p. 5, recommendations.
110 CAGSAN, para. 15.
111 CAGSAN, para. 14.
112 CAGSAN, p. 4, recommendations.
113 NHC, p. 1.