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Rights Group Calls On Turkmenistan To Back Up Promises

The Turkmen government should fully implement the recommendations issued by the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the rights watchdog Amnesty International has said.

Turkmenistan pledged to support recommendations to guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly; to seek, receive, and impart information; to allow independent nongovernmental organizations to register and work freely; and to end harassment and intimidation of journalists.

However, Turkmenistan has not specified what concrete action it intends to take to enforce these recommendations, Amnesty says, while serious violations against human rights defenders, journalists, and dissidents are still cause for concern.

Reports suggest that Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev of the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation, detained since 2006 for what Reporters Without Borders said were "trumped-up charges" of possession of illegal munitions, had their appeal for pardon rejected in 2008.

Turkmenistan has further refused to release all prisoners of conscience, to review politically motivated trials, and to account for those subjected to enforced disappearance.

Amnestys says the real test of the UPR process for Turkmenistan will be whether it leads to changes that have a real impact on the protection of human rights in the country.

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