• Jan 8, 2015
    The Turkmen government’s abysmal human rights record saw no real improvements in 2014. The president, his relatives, and their associates maintain unlimited control over all aspects of public life. The government thoroughly denies freedoms of association, expression, and religion, and the country is closed to independent scrutiny. Relatives of dozens of people imprisoned during the massive waves of arrests in the late 1990s and early 2000s have had no official information about their fate. Proposed “reform” of the constitution promises no actual expansion of fundamental rights and freedoms.
  • Jan 2, 2014
    Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive countries. The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal. The government continues to use imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation. The release of several political prisoners and the adoption of some new laws that some have hailed as “reform,” have barely dented this stark reality.
  • Jan 10, 2013
    Following February 2012 presidential elections, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov retained unchallenged power, and Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive countries.
  • Jan 22, 2012
    With presidential elections in Turkmenistan scheduled for February 2012, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s authoritarian rule remains entrenched, highlighting Turkmenistan’s status as one of the world’s most repressive countries.
  • Jan 24, 2011
    In 2010 the Turkmenistan government continued a return to the repressive methods of a previous era.
  • Jan 20, 2010
    The Turkmen government tightened repression in this already extremely repressive and authoritarian country. While retaining excessive restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and religion, it embarked on a new assault on freedom of movement and the right to education by preventing dozens of students studying in private universities abroad from leaving the country.
  • Jan 14, 2009

    In the two years since the death of Turkmenistan's president-for-life Saparmurad Niazov, the government under President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has abolished aspects of his cult of personality, adopted a new constitution, and has begun to reverse some of Niazov's most ruinous social policies. The government ended the country's self-imposed isolation and has attracted unprecedented international interest in the country's hydrocarbon wealth.  

  • Jan 5, 2006
    Headed by president-for-life Saparmurat Niazov, Turkmenistan remains one of the most repressive and closed countries in the world. Regressive government policies in education, culture, and health care caused increasing concern in the international community. In an attempt to mollify international critics, Niazov conceded to soften registration rules for religious groups, revoked the notorious law providing for a U.S.$50,000 fee for registering a marriage with a foreigner, and granted citizenship to over sixteen thousand refugees and stateless persons. Despite these small positive steps, the overall human rights situation in Turkmenistan remains dismal.
  • Jan 5, 2005
    The regime of president-for-life Saparmurat Niazov is one of the most repressive in the world. It crushes independent thought, controls virtually all aspects of civic life, and actively isolates the country from the outside world. The perverse cult of personality around President Niazov dominates public life and the education system. Civil society, already on the brink of extinction, this year took another blow with a new law criminalizing involvement in unregistered nongovernmental or religious groups. Although 2004 saw the abolition of exit visas and a slight mitigation of the laws on religious freedom and nongovernmental organizations (NGOS), in practice the rights to freedom of movement and conscience are severely restricted. Indeed, the human rights situation in Turkmenistan today is noticeably worse than it was a few years ago.