AKIPRESS.COM - Despite its obligations, Turkmenistan has not extended invitations to UN Special Rapporteurs who play a key role in assessing the human rights situation in individual countries and providing expert advice to governments, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) and International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) said in their address to Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry.
The human rights groups said the requests from a number of UN special rapporteurs to visit Turkmenistan are currently pending and no visits by special rapporteurs to date have been finally agreed on and scheduled.
The National Human Rights Action Plan for 2016-2020, which envisages visits by the UN Special Rapporteurs to Turkmenistan, expired in 2020 but no visits by special rapporteurs took place in these years.
The human rights groups urged Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry;
- to accept the requests of all UN special rapporteurs who have asked to visit the country, including the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and others;
- to work closely with the different special rapporteurs on facilitating, planning and preparing for their visits to Turkmenistan at the earliest possible dates with account of the COVID-19 related situation; and draw up a plan/schedule for these visits together with the relevant mandate holders;
- to ensure that the different special rapporteurs are able to carry out forthcoming visits in full accordance with their terms of reference, including by having confidential and unsupervised contacts with civil society representatives, witnesses and other private persons, and enjoying full access to all places considered necessary for the fulfilment of their mandates;
- to cooperate constructively with the special rapporteurs on implementation of all aspects of their mandates and take concrete actions to implement their recommendations, including those issued in the context of country visits;
- to provide assurances that no one who has been in contact with special rapporteur mandate holders or provided information to them about the human rights situation in Turkmenistan will suffer threats, harassment or punishment for doing so.