End Enforced Disappearances
On occasion of the UN International Day of the Disappeared, which is on August 30, 2014, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee together with the Prove They Are Alive! campaign launch a video clip and press release to put the spotlight on the issue of enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan.
Dozens of people have been forcibly disappeared in Turkmenistan, some for more than a decade, the campaign says in a common statement. The government of Turkmenistan should immediately inform the relatives of the disappeared of their fate and whereabouts and allow them access to their loved ones rather than ignoring their existence. – These people were sentenced, however unfairly, to prison terms, not to death and oblivion, said Lene Wetteland, Central Asia advisor of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
Watch the video clip here:
One of the disappeared is Gulgeldy Annaniyazov, a Turkmen dissident who lived in Norway on political asylum. He returned to Turkmenistan after the death of former president Niyazov in 2008 in the hope to contribute to any positive changes in his native country. Instead he was arrested, and his family has not received any formal information about him since. The NHC has tried to raise his case on several occasions, now through the Prove They Are Alive! campaign.
The International Day of the Disappeared is also an occasion to draw attention to the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. In addition to the obligation that State Parties must enact legislation that prevents enforced disappearance and hinders impunity for such actions, it also includes the recognition of the victim’s and the family’s right to receive information about circumstances and fate. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee uses this occasion to urge Norway and other European states to ratify this convention.
On 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared, the campaign has also sent letters to missions of more than 20 OSCE
participating states, including Swiss OSCE Chairmanship and the incoming Serbian OSCE Chairmanship.
Read the letter to the OSCE participating States here.