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Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Turkmenistan

of the USC Human Rights Advocacy Group and Freedom for Eurasia

April 2023

This memorandum jointly submitted on behalf of the University of Southern California Human Rights Advocacy Group (USC HRAG) and Freedom for Eurasia summarizes concerns regarding Turkmenistan’s human rights record in advance of its upcoming Universal Periodic Review. In particular, the submission focuses on human rights violations and transnational repression faced by Turkmenistan citizens, including migrant workers and human rights activists, living in Turkiye (Turkey), an important center of Turkmenistan’s diaspora. This memorandum details the surveillance, travel restrictions, discrimination and other abuses that Ashgabat and Ankara have increasingly used to control and monitor Turkmens abroad and their relatives who remain in the country. This submission is also based on substantial support, guidance, and critical input from the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation (THF).

We urge member states to raise the following recommendations with the governments of Turkmenistan and Turkey at Turkmenistan’s upcoming UPR:

Turkmenistan’s authorities should immediately cease the ongoing surveillance, harassment, detentions and forced returns of Turkmen activists, dissidents, and rights defenders abroad as well as the intimidation of their relatives in Turkmenistan;

Turkmenistan should withdraw its request for Turkey to introduce visas for Turkmenistan citizens and ensure that all Turkmenistan citizens who lack proper documentation are able to obtain passports and identification documents in their current country of residence;

Turkmenistan must also allow those who die in Turkey to have their bodies repatriated for burial in Turkmenistan;

Turkmenistan should take immediate steps to ensure that its citizens are able to exercise their rights to free expression, assembly, and association without fear of retribution and bring officials responsible for violating these rights to justice;

Turkmenistan should promptly provide accurate and trustworthy information regarding the well-being and whereabouts of Omruzak Omarkuliev;

Turkmenistan activists and rights defenders should be treated fairly and provided all protections under international law, and Turkey should allow them to enter the country without fear of reprisals and guarantee their freedom.

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