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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Turkmenistan

“To obtain a visa, you need to sign a waiver of claims against the authorities,” - an eyewitness account

“To obtain a visa, you need to sign a waiver of claims against the authorities,” - an eyewitness account

We were contacted by a Turkmen migrant who recently left Turkmenistan. For security reasons, he asked not to publish the date of departure and his name.

The man said that before leaving, he was forced to go around several rooms of the visa center “like during a medical examination in a clinic and one by one answer in detail the questions of employees: where are you going? When will you come back? Where do you work?

In the very last office, through the window, they give you to sign a pre-compiled form, which says something like the following:

“I, full name, promise that I will not take part in actions that damage the dignity of Turkmenistan in the country where I am leaving, I will not violate the laws of this country.

In a case if I am detained by the migration service at the international airport, I will not have any claims against the authorities and will not take any further action.”

They require you to enter your passport details and sign it. Without this signature, a visa will not be issued. That is, a person with his own hands puts up a barrier to further legal defense of his rights.

In addition, the man spoke about the corruption and bribes he faced when leaving.

He also described his impressions in a letter, which can be found in Turkmen language.

As it is known, in September 2022, at the request of the government of Turkmenistan, Türkiye introduced a visa regime for citizens of Turkmenistan. However, the number of those wishing to go abroad, including to Russia, has not decreased due to high unemployment in the country. In the meantime, there are reports from Turkmenistan that local migration authorities are delaying and in some cases suspending the issuance of biometric passports. These days, the on-line registration for filing applications for renewal of passports has also ceased. In particular, Radio Azatlyk drew attention to this.

In recent years, queues and bribes for obtaining Turkmen passports remain one of the burning problems.

Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

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