(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel should press President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan to end enforced disappearances and address other serious human rights problems in the country. President Berdymukhamedov is scheduled to meet Chancellor Merkel and other leading officials in Berlin on August 29, 2016, to discuss economic ties and other issues.
Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most closed and repressive countries. The government tolerates no dissent, tightly controls all media, and arbitrarily bans people from leaving the country. It also refuses to reveal to family and loved ones the fate and whereabouts of dozens of people who were tried and imprisoned in the early 2000s.
“This is one of those rare opportunities for a world leader to stand up for those in Turkmenistan who cannot engage their own government,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Chancellor Merkel should not miss this opportunity to speak directly and forcefully about the need to end repression in Turkmenistan.”