Dear Turkmen people. Last week, the American non-governmental organization Crude Accountability presented the report «Turkmenistan: An Exemplary Kleptocracy». In this regard, you ask questions that boil down to: what is the relationship between kleptocracy in Turkmenistan and human rights?
As you know, there are many articles and videos about the Turkmen kleptocracy in the international media. Have you heard that a journalist in Turkmenistan asked a question about what means the heroes of these reports live on? Can, for example, a Turkmen deputy ask such a question to the Mejlis? Can he make a request to the prosecutor's office? Can an ordinary citizen ask why the construction of this or that object costs such huge sums? How was the competition or tender? Why did this company win? According to the law, it can, but in practice, no, you will answer. And you will be right. Because the regime will start persecuting the one who asked questions.
A special place in the report is given to the corrupt activities of members of the family of President Kurbankuli Berdymukhammedov and a circle of officials and businessmen close to him. The report notes that these people, using his patronage and unlimited opportunities, not only enrich themselves, but also frankly hinder the formation of conditions in the country for the development of normal market relations.
Due to years of mismanagement, reckless spending and corruption, Turkmenistan has turned into a kleptocratic state in which the ruling elite that has seized power uses it to increase their personal wealth by appropriating natural resources, and the opacity of economic activity allows them to embezzle state funds with impunity, which leads to impoverishment population, the report says. "Why is this happening? Due to years of mismanagement, reckless spending and corruption, the authors of the report write - Turkmenistan is a kleptocracy - a country in which the ruling elite uses power to seize the natural resources of the state, to increase their personal wealth by impoverishing the population. Money that should rightfully be spent on the people of Turkmenistan is squandered, hidden in foreign bank accounts, used to buy real estate in Europe and the United States, or, in extreme cases, spent on vanity projects that strengthen the president’s personality cult.” As a result, there's corruption, permissiveness, kleptocracy in the country.
First of all, it should be noted that in those countries where human rights are respected, civil society will not allow such a situation. It will at least highlight such issues. When the right, for example, to freedom of opinion is observed, then any citizen can demand transparency in the activities of the state, business and state institutions. Asking such a question in a democratic country, you have the right to a reasonable answer.
“The lack of transparency in economic activity allows responsible individuals to plunder public funds with impunity,” conclude Crude Accountability experts. Lack of transparency ultimately leads to the impoverishment of the population. Because there is no transparency, accountability in any industry, especially in justice. No freedom of opinion, no available statistics. And there is no civil society, which, in theory, could keep it under control.
Dear compatriots, we hope that we were able to answer your questions about the relationship between human rights and corruption in an understandable language.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights