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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Turkmenistan

Turkmen picket in front of WHO headquarters

Turkmen picket in front of WHO headquarters

The police and the international organization could not decide where the border of the urban area was.

On September 29-30, the leader of the Turkmen DET (Democratic Elections in Turkmenistan) movement, Murad Kurbanov, held a picket in front of the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, trying to draw attention to the problem of coronovirus in Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan (like North Korea) denies the presence of COVID cases on its territory, despite numerous unofficial reports of cases of illness and death, including in Ashgabat.

Prior to the picket, Kurbanov reportedly contacted the Geneva City Hall, who assured him that permission was not required to hold a solo picket.

However, when at 15:30 Kurbanov entered the WHO headquarters and informed the guards of the WHO headquarters about his intention to hold a picket, he was told that he had no right to hold a rally, since the territory near the WHO headquarters was not under the jurisdiction of the city authorities. In response, Kurbanov insisted on calling the police.

According to our information, further proceedings took place with the participation of local and Protection Diplomatique police officers, as well as a responsible WHO officer, while, as it turned out, none of the parties could clearly substantiate where the border of the city territory passes. One of the policemen said that this had never happened before in their practice. Kurbanov was offered to cancel the picket due to unresolved issues that had arisen, but he refused. The local police clearly stated that the Turkmen activist had the right to hold a picket in the urban area near the headquarters of the WHO, with which the representatives of the international organization were eventually forced to agree.

On September 30, Kurbanov continued picketing near the WHO headquarters, and the four-hour rally went unhindered.

Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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