Turkmens have the right to create, join and participate effectively in associations. But the vast majority of the population does not know about this. Because the regime does not allow citizens to receive such information. The authorities are afraid of freedom of association, since it is based on a system of checks and balances. This system is similar to death for them.
Turkmenistan remains the only Central Asian country with which the EU has not yet signed a Cooperation and Partnership Agreement.
Independent human rights organizations are unable to operate in the country, and repeated requests from UN human rights experts are ignored. Personally, our organization has repeatedly spoken at this podium with a proposal to work in Turkmenistan, and not abroad. In this regard, for 20 years the regime has been going down a well-worn path into the abyss.
To unsubscribe, the government allows several GONGOs to exist. Their representatives are sometimes allowed to appear even on this site. Pay attention to their speeches: they mumble the lesson presented by the Ombudsman - that everything is wonderful in Turkmenistan. In practice, the government is attacking civil society on a broad front; human rights defenders and activists face direct threats to their safety; they are restricted in their freedom of movement, intimidated and persecuted for criticizing the illegal actions of the state. The authorities discredit representatives of civil society, subject them to destruction, submit fabricated requests for detention and deportation to them through Interpol, organize physical attacks, sue them in false criminal cases, and do not stop persecuting their relatives.
It is alarming that those gathered here, especially those with real powers, turn a blind eye to all this. In the same way, they turned a blind eye to our warnings that in the OSCE region, using the example of Turkmenistan, a new type of pseudo-democracy is being tested: one thing is written on paper, but something else happens in practice. The result is a crisis in the region.
At this time, many countries whose representatives are present in this room give preference to “quiet diplomacy” with Turkmenistan. Decades of such diplomacy, despite any assurances, have shown that at its core lie purely economic benefits from the Turkmen regime. What leads to the suppression of the sprouts of democracy, moreover, is the policy of strengthening authoritarianism in Turkmenistan.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights