U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on Turkmenistan's government to reverse a ban on students bound for foreign private universities.
HRW is also calling for Turkmenistan to end "new, burdensome requirements for studying abroad that violate the rights of freedom of movement and to education."
An HRW statement from August 31 says that "since July 2009, Turkmen authorities have prevented hundreds of students from boarding planes and crossing land borders to depart for study abroad."
Under the new requirements, students must hand over several documents, including an invitation from the university, a copy of the university's license, verification of its state-affiliation status, a copy of the contract between the student and the university, and a passport, to seek permission to travel outside the country.
Maria Lisitsyna of HRW was quoted as saying "these arbitrary travel restrictions are disturbing new proof of how repressive Turkmenistan's government is."