In her first report Turkmenistan’s Ombudsman accuses residents of dependency

The first report summarizing the 2017 performance by Yazdursun Gurbannazarova, the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), has been published in Turkmenistan's official media outlets.

A considerable part of the report is devoted to a description of the Ombudsman's performance as well as to the activities and wise initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov who is referred to as Honoured President.

In 2017 some 439 applications (185 verbal and 254 written applications) were recorded and 195 applicants visited the Ombudsman's office.

Interestingly enough, according to the report, all personal data of applicants including the surname, first name, patronymic, date of birth, gender, residence registration and even nationality, are recorded in a special log book. For instance, of 293 people who had submitted written applications (some of them were collective) 253 were Turkmen nationals, 26 � Russians, 4 � Azerbaijani, 3 � Uzbeks, 3 � Armenians, two � Lezghians, one Ukrainian and one Kurd.

It is emphasized that seven complaints were not signed by the authors and therefore could not be considered.

Out of 254 written complaints only 25 were satisfied and thus assistance was rendered to safeguard and reinstate the violated rights.

Some complaints of the residents are quoted as an example.

A female resident of Balkanabat contacted the Ombudsman's office with a complaint against pharmacies which sell Somnol 7,5 gr containing the strong medication Zopiklon. According to the application, patients taking these pills are in an incompetent condition, which leads to road traffic accidents. As a result the Healthcare Ministry issued a decree pursuant to which medications containing Zopiklon will be sold only by prescription.

Several Turkmen citizens managed to find employment after contacting the Ombudsman's office, but it is emphasized that many other applicants had refused to accept job offers proposed by the Employment office.

One of the applicants managed to obtain compensation for financial loss from the Public Utilities Ministry after a voltage surge in the power networks had burnt out a TV set, a tuner and a fridge.

Some illegal building extensions were demolished following one of the complaints.

As a result of the application submitted to the office of Turkmenistan's Ombudsman by a female resident who was on the black list of residents, temporarily barred from exiting the country, she was permitted to depart overseas so that her sick child could undergo medical treatment.

A person with second level disability, sharing a room with a grown up son and a daughter, are on the waiting list to obtain accommodation for disabled people.

Moreover, the following petitions have been positively resolved: the eviction of an officer's widow from a company-owned apartment; the problem with running water which does not meet sanitation standards; a lift which had been standing idle for three years and a broken children's playground; rubbish containers which had been in the yard for 25 years; electricity and gas which had not been supplied to houses where residents moved three years ago; salaries which have not been paid to educators for the entire year (from September 2016 to June 2017); the refusal of Senagat bank to transfer converted funds to an account with a Russian bank.

However, it is mentioned in the report that the majority of residents who contacted the Ombudsman's office anticipate that the authorities not only respect their rights but also try to meet their demands with various material benefits � even if the latter are not provided for in the relevant laws. In this connection, the traditional past practice to lobby interests was vividly demonstrated in numerous residents' letters to the Ombudsman by contesting court verdicts despite the fact that they had repeatedly been acknowledged to be just and fair. Responding to such petitions, the Ombudsman had to explain whether the human rights violations were real or not, and advised residents to address their issues in a constructive manner for which opportunities are available in Turkmenistan's free economy.

Finally, the Ombudsman came to the conclusion that she needs to raise awareness of the country's residents who are not capable of proactively and independently solving their economic problems and who traditionally rely on help from the government.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan