- For defenders
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The country remains closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders face constant threat of government reprisal. The repressive environment in Turkmenistan makes it extremely difficult for independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to operate.
All print and electronic media are state-controlled. Internet access remains limited and heavily controlled by the state. The country's only internet service provider is state-operated, and political opposition websites are blocked. Internet cafés require visitors to present their passports. The government is known to monitor electronic and telephone communications. Human rights activists and their family members are frequently summoned by the intelligence services. Pressure is particularly placed on defenders and journalists who have contacts abroad. Websites of NGOs monitoring the human rights situation in Turkmenistan from abroad, are blocked, such as the website of the Turkmen Human Rights Initiative (THRI).
The justice system lacks transparency, trials are closed in political cases, and the overall level of repression precludes any independent human rights monitoring. The government has persistently denied access to the country to independent human rights monitors, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, NGOs, and 10 UN Special Rapporteurs whose requests for visits have not been answered.
The UN Committee against Torture reviewed Turkmenistan in May 2011 and found "numerous and consistent allegations about the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment." It voiced concern about enforced disappearances and incommunicado detention.
Homosexuality is punishable by up to two years in prison, and as a result LGBTI rights defenders are virtually invisible.
On several occasions, the authorities attempted to hinder participation by Turkmen human rights defenders in international meetings, such as in the case of the Human Dimension and Implementation Meetings of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) when the Turkmen Government formally objected to their participation.
12 November 2010
03 November 2009
09 December 2008
04 February 2007
03 August 2006
Turkmenistan: Unfair trial and conviction of human rights defender and journalist Mr Dovlemurat Yazguliev
Turkmenistan: Cyber attack on Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, and intimidation of the mother of Mr Farid Tukhbatullin, founder of the organisation