Joint statement by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), the Turkmenistan Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) and the Human Rights Centre ”Memorial”
Vienna, 11 January 2006. For many years the people of Turkmenistan have been deprived of basic civil, political and socio-economic rights. Less than one month after President Niyazov’s death, we, the undersigned human rights organizations, have gathered in Vienna along with exiled opposition groups to call on the government of Turkmenistan to promote democratic reform; to uphold human rights standards and to create instances of dialogue between the authorities, civil society and opposition members. The international community should condition relations with Turkmenistan on these changes.
We believe that the first steps on the way to democratic reforms in Turkmenistan should be:
1. Review of the cases of political prisoners, immediate release of all prisoners of conscience, and rehabilitation of the victims of political repression.
2. Guarantee the freedom of movement inside the country and to travel outside the country, the possibility of safe return into the country of emigrants from Turkmenistan, who had to leave the country during the years of Niyazov’s rule.
3. Stop the practice of arbitrary limitations of the activities of civic and religious organizations, and create the conditions for the legal functioning of political parties and movements.
4. Facilitate the free functioning of printed and electronic media, remove the limits on the access to Internet.
5. Guarantee access into the country of UN Special Rapporteurs and of Emmanuel Decaux, appointed in 2002 by the OSCE as a special rapporteur on Turkmenistan within the OSCE Moscow Mechanism.
6. Grant the International Committee of the Red Cross and other independent observers access to prisoners and penitentiary institutions.
7. Impartial and thorough investigations into allegations of torture of persons accused in connection with the alleged attempt on the life of President Niyazov in 2002, as well as in the cases of Ogulsapar Muradova, Sapardurdy Hadzhiev and Annakurban Amanklychev.
8. Immediately stop the prosecution of Andrey Zatoka, a prominent environmental activist detained in December 2006 on the fabricated charges.
Joining the appeal:
WATAN Socio-Political Movement
Democratic Civic Union of Turkmenistan
Youth Patriotic Organization AJDYNLYK
Movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Turkmenistan
Republican Party of Turkmenistan
Russian Community of Turkmenistan
United Democratic Opposition of Turkmenistan
Union of Independent Lawyers of Turkmenistan
For more information:
Aaron Rhodes, Executive Director, IHF +43-676-635-6612 Farid Tukhbatulin, Chairman, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, +43 – 1 – 944 13 27
Vitaly Ponomaryov, Director of Central Asia Monitoring Programme, Human Rights Centre Memorial, +7 – 495 790 74 56 or +7 – 432 – 34 77
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights January 11, 2007