Turkmenistan på dagsordenen i FN | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Turkmenistan på dagsordenen i FN

(02/04-2010) Den vanskelige menneskerettighetssituasjonen i Turkmenistan ble satt på dagsordenen på FNs menneskerettighets- kommisjonsmøte i Geneve i går. "Kulten" rundt president Niyazov (“Turkmenbashi” eller "far til alle turkmenere") blir stadig større og regimet ligner i økende grad på Nord-Korea. Det finnes ingen uavhengige medier, ingen opposisjonspartier, og bare to religioner er tillatt, nemlig den russisk ortodokse kirke og en statsstyrt og kontrollert form for islam. Innlegget ble, foruten Den norske Helsingforskomité, holdt på vegne av Den internasjonale Helsingforsføderasjonen, The International League for Human Rights og menneskerettighetsorganisasjonen Memorial i Russland.

Statement on behalf of the
International League for Human Rights and
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights 

59th Session of the Commission on Human Rights
Agenda item 9 

April 1 2003


I am speaking on behalf of the International League for Human Rights, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Memorial Human Rights Center based in the Russian Federation.

We would like to address the current human rights situation in Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country, where the medieval-style cult of President Niyazov (“Turkmenbashi” or Father of all Turkmens) has gradually reached enormous proportions, increasingly resembling the regime in North Korea. There are no independent media outlets, no opposition parties, and only two religious confessions are allowed: the Russian Orthodox Church and a state-sanctioned and controlled form of Islam.

On November 25, 2002, gunmen allegedly opened fire on President Saparmurat Niyazov’s motorcade in an unsuccessful bid to assassinate him. Over 100 individuals, mostly relatives and associates of the main suspects, were arrested and tortured within a few days of the assassination attempt. While many of them were subsequently released, approximately 60 individuals received long prison terms in trials lasting only a few hours, to which international observers were denied access. Boris Shikhmuradov, a former foreign minister and alleged mastermind, whose televised confession was perfectly reminiscent of the Stalin era, received life imprisonment. A prominent environmental activist, Farid Tukhbatullin, was sentenced to three years in prison, simply for attending an international human rights conference in Moscow in November 2002. Several families of “suspected elements” are being currently threatened with forcible deportation to desert areas of the country, to “atone for their crimes through labor,” according to the official explanation.

This particular crackdown was accompanied by a further rollback of civil freedoms for the people of Turkmenistan. Exit visas, recently abolished amid great fanfare by the international community, have been reintroduced, restricting the already severely limited freedom of movement for ordinary citizens. Foreign visitors and Turkmens accompanying them are closely monitored by the special services.

President Niyazov’s repressive policies have led to Turkmenistan’s almost complete international isolation. Although Turkmenistan has ratified all major United Nations human rights treaties, it has consistently refused to engage in any genuine dialogue with the international community. The government has neither submitted a single periodic report to UN treaty bodies nor has it responded to a request made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a technical cooperation assessment mission. In December 2002, ten member states of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) invoked the “Moscow mechanism” against Turkmenistan with the purpose of obtaining information about the human rights situation in the aftermath of the November 25 assassination attempt. Turkmenistan refused to cooperate with the OSCE by denying a visa to its rapporteur.

We urge the Commission to adopt a resolution that:

  • deplores abuses by President Niyazov’s government;
  • calls for Turkmenistan to comply with its international human rights obligations,
  • demands that the principle of due process be observed in all cases, in particular for those who were arrested in connection with the 25 November alleged assassination attempt;
  • obliges the Turkmen government to grant unimpeded access to international commissions of inquiry, including the UN human rights mechanisms.


Thank you for the attention.