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Turkmenistan: OSCE Secretary General urged to raise pressing human rights issues during visit

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Turkmenistan: OSCE Secretary General urged to raise pressing human rights issues during visit
Turkmenistan: OSCE Secretary General urged to raise pressing human rights issues during visit

International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) has joined more than 20 other human rights NGOs in sending a letter to OSCE Secretary-General Helga Schmid ahead of her visit to Turkmenistan on 4-6 March 2024. The NGO signatories urge Ms Schmid to express concern about Turkmenistan’s continued failure to uphold its international human rights obligations and OSCE human dimension commitments, stressing that the OSCE should not expand its cooperation with Turkmenistan until there has been tangible human rights progress.

The NGO signatories draw particular attention to recent cases in which Turkmenistan’s authorities have refused to allow government critics to travel abroad. Lawyer and activist Pygambergeldy Allaberdyev was denied exit from Turkmenistan in January 2024 when attempting to travel to Iran to receive medical treatment that is unavailable in Turkmenistan. His health deteriorated considerably when he served more than two years in prison on charges initiated in retaliation for his activism. In another recent case, in November 2023, journalist Soltan Achilova was prevented from boarding a flight from Ashgabat to Geneva, Switzerland, despite having a valid airline ticket and visa. She and her daughter were subjected to multiple security screenings in the airport, their passports were deliberately damaged, and Ms. Achilova was strip searched twice by authorities.

Moreover, an illegal practice of long-term incommunicado detention of hundreds of people whom the government perceives as its opponents has continued unabated since 2003, despite repeated criticism of these policies by the international community. Many of these prisoners have been subjected to full isolation from the outside world for more than twenty years. More than 30 individuals who have served their prison terms in full are still held incommunicado.

Download the letter below in English, Russian or Turkmen.

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