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EU-Turkmenistan: move from words to action

Amnesty International

(Brussels, 23 June) EU delegates attending the first full Human Rights Dialogue with Turkmenistan, tomorrow, in Ashgabad should press authorities to honour their international human rights obligations.

In a new report: Turkmenistan: No effective human rights reform, launched today, Amnesty International concludes there continue to be widespread and systematic violations of human rights, and impunity pervades for police, security services and other government authorities, despite promises of the government of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to protect human rights.

"A fundamental part of the EU-Central Asia strategy is centred on Human Rights Dialogues. To be coherent, the participants of tomorrow's meeting must demonstrate that human rights are an integral part of their interactions – and not a fig leaf behind which either side is free to privilege economic cooperation" said Nicolas Beger, Amnesty International EU Office Director.

Amnesty International's key human rights concerns include:

" The enforced disappearance of dozens of prisoners labelled as "traitors of the motherland" by the authorities, who were sentenced in unfair trials to prison terms of between five years and life in connection with an alleged coup attempt in November 2002;

" The harassment, interrogation and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders, other independent civil society activists and journalists;

" The severe restriction of religious freedom;

" The courts are heavily dependent on the executive branch and a fundamental reform of the judiciary is urgently needed to strengthen the rule of law in the country;

" Law enforcement officers and prison guards have allegedly subjected detainees and prisoners to torture or other ill-treatment in many cases, sometimes even leading to death in custody. Impunity for such human rights violations is the norm in Turkmenistan.

Note:

The report Turkmenistan: No effective human rights reform is available at:

http://www.amnesty-eu.org/static/documents/2008/Turkmenistan230608.pdf

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web-site: http://www.amnesty-eu.org

Source: TIHR