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Retaliation after Khursanai Ismatullaeva’s Case is Discussed in European Parliament

On July 16, police in Turkmenistan arrested a doctor whose unfair dismissal was raised during a human rights panel that I moderated that was held a day earlier by the European Parliament. Khursanai Ismatullaeva had worked at a neonatal clinic near…
Kursanai Ismatullaeva detained Turkmenistan
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Security Forces Should Safeguard Citizens Against Violence

(Johannesburg) – Eswatini authorities should ensure that security forces deployed in the wake of protests respect citizens’ rights and observe international standards of law enforcement, Human Rights Watch said today. Eswatini, Africa’s last…
King Mswati III of Eswatini addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2019.
News

Stop Threatening Families, Respect Freedom of Expression

(Vienna) – Turkmen security officials have questioned and threatened a 14-year-old boy in retaliation for the outspoken views of his uncle, a Turkmen activist and journalist who lives in Turkey, four independent human rights groups said today. The…
Rozybai Jumamadov, whose 14-year-old nephew and family were harassed and threatened by authorities in Turkmenistan, May 2020.
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March 2021  

Introduction This submission highlights concerns about Eswatini’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. It focuses on Eswatini’s failure to implement reforms and the recent, drastic deterioration in the human rights situation.…
News

Uphold, Reaffirm Human Rights Protections

(Berlin) – Government responses to the acute human rights challenges posed by Covid-19 across Central Asia negatively affected right to health, media freedoms, and access to justice, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021.…
Uzbek students take open-air entrance exams in Tashkent on September 2, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.
News

Rights, Rule of Law Key in Response to Region’s Crises

(Brussels) – The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges…
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.
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Sentence Highlights Politically Motivated Persecution

(Berlin) – Turkmenistan’s authorities should immediately and unconditionally release a lawyer imprisoned on bogus charges that appear to be in retaliation for his alleged ties with activists abroad, 10 human rights organizations said today. The…
Pygambergeldy Allaberdyev
News

Dursoltan Taganova Risks Arbitrary Detention, Torture if Returned Home

Update (October 15, 2020): On October 12, Dorsultan Taganova was released from the Kirklareli Pehlivankoy women’s deportation center. The undersigned groups will continue to monitor her case. (Berlin) – The Turkish government should halt plans to…
Dorsultan Taganova.
News

Pandemic Compounds People’s Struggle for Affordable Food

(New York) – Government inaction in response to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically exacerbated Turkmenistan’s pre-existing food crisis, Human Rights Watch and the Turkmenistan Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) said today.…
A woman sells herbs in Ashgabat.
News

Officials Withhold Information, Pressure Health Workers

(Berlin) – Turkmenistan authorities are jeopardizing public health by denying an apparent outbreak of the coronavirus, Human Rights Watch said today. Officials claim there are no Covid-19 cases, silence health workers, and do not promote social…
Entrance to the Niyazov Medical Center in Ashgabat, one of Turkmenistan's top medical facilities, June 2020.
News

Decriminalize Consensual Same-Sex Conduct

In Turkmenistan, men who have sex with men continue to be arrested and imprisoned on sodomy charges. In mid-April independent media in the region reported the arrest of a popular entertainer as well as those of numerous other…
A screen showing a portrait of Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov inside the terminal of the newly built airport in Ashgabat
News

Storm Survivors Need Help, Not Censorship

Last week a hurricane tore through eastern Turkmenistan’s Lebap and Mary provinces. It was one of the country’s worst natural disasters in almost 10 years. But as residents struggle to bury their dead and repair homes, state and state-affiliated,…
Hurricane damage to a residential building in Turkmenabad, Lebap province, Turkmenistan, May 2020.
News

Ensure Information Access, Curb Abuses, Protect Detainees

(Berlin) – Governments in Central Asia have failed to consistently uphold human rights obligations in their responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by limiting access to information about the spread of the virus and implementing restrictions…
Kyrgyz law enforcement officers verify drivers and passengers' documents at a check point, after authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital Bishkek.
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Leaders Should Promote Human Rights Across Region

  (Johannesburg) – Weak domestic and regional institutions undermined human rights in several Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries during 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020…
A delegate attends the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Pretoria, South Africa, August 19, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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End Arbitrary Detention, Speech Restrictions

(Berlin) – Changes in the names and faces of political leaders in Central Asia have brought promises for reforms, but core human rights concerns, such as detention of critics and limits to free speech, remain urgent in all five…
An Uzbekistan cotton grower works in a cotton plantation outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019.
News
The EU is proud that protecting human rights is central to its efforts to make the world a better place, and has repeatedly defined this goal as integral to its foreign policy. That’s the theory. The reality often looks different – in Central Asia…
Kazakhstan police officers detain a protester during an opposition rally in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Update: On November 6, 2019, at around 11 p.m., Kasymberdy Garayev and his father, Maksat Garayev, had a video call with the chief editor of RFE/RL’s Turkmen service from their home. Maksat Garayev asked the editor to tell people and…
Kasymberdy Garayev
News

Two of Alysher Muhametguliyev’s Co-Defendants Died within Two Years of Verdict

Alysher Muhametguliyev, who is serving a 23-year prison sentence in Turkmenistan’s notorious  Ovadan Depe prison, urgently needs medical care and should be released immediately for medical treatment. Muhametguliyev was…
Alysher Muhametguliyev
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President Resurfaces After Weeks of Rumor-Filled Mystery

Suddenly – and probably briefly – Turkmenistan is in the news again. This Central Asian country, rich in natural gas but appalling on human rights, rarely gets major media attention. It happened when the first president, Saparmurad…
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks with Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.