Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) and International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) have sent an open letter to Turkmenistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov on the issue of cooperation with the special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The two NGOs call on Turkmenistan to accept the requests of all special procedures who have asked to visit the country, and to work closely with these procedures on planning and preparing for missions at the earliest possible dates, taking into account in particular the COVID-19 related situation.
In its National Human Rights Action Plan for 2016-2020, Turkmenistan committed itself to permitting and facilitating new visits by UN special procedures. However, no visits by special procedures took place during the implementation period of this action plan and to date the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to religion or belief is the only to have visited Turkmenistan – in 2008.
In May 2018, Turkmenistan issued a standing invitation to all UN special procedures, thereby announcing that it will always accept requests to visit from such mandate holders. While welcoming this step, TIHR and IPHR stress that Turkmenistan should follow through on its pledge by accommodating all requests for visits by UN special procedures that are currently pending – some of them since more than a decade.
TIHR and IPHR call on Turkmenistan’s government to cooperate constructively with the UN special procedures and to take concrete measures in response to the concerns they raise and the recommendations they issue.