Over the six months of 2021, the human rights situation in Turkmenistan has not improved, according to a report from the UK Foreign Office published on November 23 .
The document examines the situation in 31 countries of the world (including Turkmenistan), where “Great Britain is especially concerned about human rights issues and where it can make a real difference.”
With regard to Turkmenistan, citing Human Rights Watch, the report states that dissidents and their families, both inside and outside the country, have been arrested and harassed by the authorities.
It is also reported that all prisoners of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been amnestied in May 2021. However, during the reporting period, “Turkmenistan did not comply with the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee to review legislation and recognize the right to conscientious objection to military service.”
In May 2021, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the following: “As far as we understand, the authorities are now ready to offer conscientious objectors an alternative way to serve.”
Regarding the coronavirus, it is noted that the government of Turkmenistan continued to claim that there were no cases of COVID-19 infection in the country. This has not been challenged due to the lack of independent media and significant restrictions on freedom of expression.
In addition, the UK welcomes Turkmenistan’s discussion with the International Organization for Migration in April 2021 on the provision of assistance and protection to victims of trafficking. “We call on Turkmenistan to cooperate with the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances and ask to organize a visit to resolve the problems of incommunicado detention of victims of enforced disappearances,” the document says.
The concluding part of the country section notes that the recently published National Human Rights Action Plan in Turkmenistan contains some positive initiatives that, if fully implemented, could improve the human rights situation in the country.
In addition to Turkmenistan, the list also includes Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan