High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs arrives in Ashgabat

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission Ms Federica Mogherini is scheduled to arrive in Turkmenistan to attend the opening ceremony for the EU representation office in Ashgabat.

On this occasion international human rights organizations Human Rights Watch (HRW) and International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) forward a statement to the EU official and reminded about the appalling human rights record in Turkmenistan.

The HRW website reports that Turkmenistan has one of the most repressive governments in the world, which is a far cry from what is envisaged in the EU's brand new Central Asia strategy.

The new EU office in Ashgabat is supposed to enable the EU to step up dialogue and cooperation with Turkmenistan. But the EU representatives shouldn't waste time and money on engagement for their own sake. HRW urges Mogherini to tell the government the new EU office will spare no efforts to press for real human rights changes in the country. Meanwhile, during her visit she should insist on the release of a dissident Gulgeldy Annaniyazov and the other 14 political prisoners whose sentences are ending, and for an end to the crimes of forced disappearance in the country.

IPHR reminds about persecution of independent journalists and attempts of the authorities to prevent the dissemination of independent information about the situation in the country. The human rights organization urges to call on the Turkmenistani authorities to put an end to the practice of surveillance, intimidation and harassment of civil society activists and guarantee that correspondents of foreign media outlets can peacefully exercise their freedom to seek, receive and impart information.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan