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Turkmenistan: Clampdown on dissent: A background briefing

, Index number: EUR 61/015/2003

This document describes the human rights situation in Turkmenistan as appalling. It has deteriorated even further following an alleged assassination attempt on President Saparmurat Niyazov in November 2002, which triggered a new wave of repression. Turkmenistan shows no political will to implement recent recommendations made by the international community to improve its human rights record and has ignored its obligations under major human rights treaties and as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Key to the failure to address impunity or counter the widespread abuse of human rights is the domination by President Niyazov of all aspects of life in the country, and the personality cult he has surrounded himself with. The government is extremely intolerant of dissent and has severely limited civil and political liberties. Opponents of the regime have been forced into exile or faced imprisonment and persecution, and no independent political parties can openly operate in Turkmenistan. Civilsociety activists have also faced persecution and imprisonment. Religious freedom has been severely curtailed, and the authorities in this virtually closed country have retained tight control of the media. Freedom of movement is severrly restricted and lminorities have been targets of harassment and discrimination. Amnesty International urges the authorities of Turkmenistan to promptly introduce fundamental reforms of domestic law, policies and institutions in line with the country’s obligations under international human rights law, as steps in a process to significantly improve its human rights record. The organization also urges the international community to build on their efforts to address human rights violations in Turkmenistan and to commit themselves to long-term engagement with a view to improving the human rights situation in Turkmenistan.

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