Turkmenistan and the UN: a rare comprehensive review of human rights shortcomings

April 3, 2012
On 30 March Human Rights Watch (HRW)  together with the International Partnership for Human Rights, and Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights made public a report that on the result of the Turkmen government’s hearing at the UN Human Rights Committee. Both the hearing and the original NGO submission  show its abysmal human rights record.  “The UN review leaves no doubt about the urgent need for human rights reform in Turkmenistan. What’s key now is to make sure the Turkmen government does what it takes to rectify abuses” stated Veronika Szente Goldston, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.  Given Turkmenistan’s exceptionally poor record of cooperation with the UN’s human rights bodies, sustained external pressure is essential to enforce compliance, the organizations said.
The Turkmen government’s clampdown on freedom of expression and repression of civil society activism, torture and ill-treatment in places of detention, and the lack of an independent judiciary topped the committee’s concerns. It directed the Turkmen government to report back within one year on measures taken to address them. The committee also highlighted other important areas of concern, such as: Incommunicado detention and imprisonment and restrictions on “the exit and entry into [the country] by certain individuals.  Other concerns raised by the committee include: The Law on Public Associations, which “severely restricts freedom of association; reports of the use of child labor in cotton harvesting; criminalization of homosexuality; and the “alleged use of a forced assimilation policy of ‘Turkmenisation,’ for ethnic minorities.
For the full report go to: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/30/turkmenistan-damning-un-report-shows-need-urgent-action

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