EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

UN Disappointed With Turkmenistan

Posted by Info on 22/05/2011

Turkmenistan has, after nine years, presented its first report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) on May 17-18.. UN representatives found the report to be lacking in detail, and disappointed by the responses of Turkmen officials to pointed questions.

The only statistic in the report, and in the oral presentation, was that the number of people in the women’s prison in the north is 2, 213.
Committee members came out of the session less than satisfied. “They didn’t give the facts and figures we asked for and there is a lot of information that’s still missing. There were a lot of rebuttals, but not always on the questions we asked.”

Prior to the CAT session numerous watchdog organizations , including Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Commission, the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and Turkmenistan’s Independent Lawyer Association, submitted reports to the committee outlining fundamental human rights abuses in the Central Asian state.

Human Rights Watch urged the committee to call on the Turkmen government to take “immediate” action, including the release of political prisoners and the conduct of transparent investigations into allegations of torture. Turkmen officials should “acknowledge the problem of torture and ill-treatment in Turkmenistan as serious. This acknowledgment should come from the highest levels, meaning President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, and it should be a message publicly condemning torture and making clear that it has no place in Turkmenistan. That would be a critical first step,.

The UN CAT intends to make “a large number of recommendations and we will identify four or five of those recommendations for immediate follow up within the year. The recommendations are expected to be made public in early June. Later that month the European Parliament is due to vote on the ratification of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Ashgabat.

Szente Goldston said it would be “absurd” for the EU to ratify the PCA “right on the heels” of the CAT review. “It would send a terrible message. What the EU should do instead is seize upon the review … and to really use [its] leverage with the Turkmen government to impress upon [Turkmen leaders] the importance of implementing [CAT] recommendations.”

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