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Report of the Ombudsman in Turkmenistan on his activities and the human rights situation in the country in 2021
Report of the Ombudsman
Report of the Ombudsman in Turkmenistan on his activities and the human rights situation in the country in 2021
Published 19.05.2022
3412

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Introduction 

 

Chapter I.

Situation with ensuring and observing the human and civil rights and freedoms in Turkmenistan 

Chapter II

Civil and political rights

Chapter III.

Economic, social and cultural rights

Chapter IV.

Analysis of handling appeals of citizens

Chapter V.

Activity of the Ombudsman to help improve the national legislation of Turkmenistan

Chapter VI.

Participation of the Ombudsperson in public events. Promotion of human rights awareness

Chapter VII.

International co-operation

Chapter VIII.

Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman

Chapter IX.

Conclusions 

 INTRODUCTION

 As historically developed, every year in our country becomes yet another stage in the development of society and the state. Last year held under the motto ‘Turkmenistan is the Motherland of Peace and Trust’, in the annals of independent, permanently neutral Turkmenistan became the year of implementation of large-scale activities. They were aimed at further democratization of the state and society, improving the activity of public authorities, increasing the pace of transformations during the transition to market relations, expanding socio-economic reforms carried out in the country and strengthening their legal foundations, and ensuring a prosperous and happy life for every citizen, the realization of their rights.

The introductory part of the report will look in detail on the main events that took place in the life of the country and the Turkmen people during the reporting year. In 2021, the 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence was celebrated. On 27 October 1991, the Constitutional Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Independence and Foundations of the State Structure of Turkmenistan’ consolidated the independence and foundations of the state structure of Turkmenistan. The Law states: ‘The independence of Turkmenistan is proclaimed in the name of the highest goals - the acquisition by the Turkmenistan people of a genuine national statehood, ensuring to every person, regardless of differences in national, racial, social origin and religion, the rights and freedoms provided for by the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other norms of international law, building a humane democratic society with the rule of law.’

Since that time, great importance has been attached to ensuring human rights in our independent country. Thus, the Declaration on the International Obligations of Neutral Turkmenistan in the field of Human Rights was adopted, which defined the respect for human rights and freedoms as the basis of justice and peace.

During the last year, important work was carried out to ensure the practical realization of the rights of every person.

The transition of the country’s legislative body to a bicameral system - the creation of the Milli Gengesh, comprising the Halk Maslahaty and the Mejlis should be noted among the main historical events. This was done in order to strengthen the foundations of the state structure. On the one hand, the upgrading the legislative body met the requirements of a modern rule of law, and on the other hand, it proceeded from the historical experience of people’s democracy. It should be emphasized that with the transition to a bicameral system, the opportunities for representation in the Milli Gengesh of all segments of society, drastic improvements in the development and implementation of laws, as well as effective control over the implementation of laws have increased.

Last year, Turkmenistan, committed to the policy of ‘open doors’, putting forward creative, humane initiatives, remained in the centre of attention of the international community and promoted the development of international relations. In particular, it acted as a country organizing and taking part in conferences, fora and other various events dedicated to topical issues of global and regional importance, including issues such as the promotion of human rights, ensuring the rule of law.

The past anniversary year has become one of the most successful, eventful in the country’s foreign policy. Thus, in 2021, Turkmenistan chaired the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and last November the 15th ECO Summit was held in the capital. Turkmenistan joined the Co-operation Council of Turkic-speaking States as an observer. Last year, Turkmenistan was also awarded the status of an observer country in the Council of the Conference on Co-operation and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia. In addition, Turkmenistan was elected a member of the UN Executive Council on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, Vice-Chairman of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), member of the Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. All the above-mentioned and other international events held in our country serve as evidence of the significant steps taken last year by our state in the economic and political fields, including in the field of human rights.

As it is widely known, humanity is experiencing a global crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, in our country last year, the issue of combating the pandemic and taking multilateral actions to eliminate its negative effects remained one of the tasks to which special attention was paid. Turkmenistan continued to support the concerted efforts of the international community in the fight against coronavirus and in countering the spread of its political, socio-economic consequences. From the first days of the spread of COVID-19 in the world, the protection of our people from this threat was determined among the priority measures in our country and work was organized to systematically provide the population with free medicines to strengthen human immunity. In the reporting year, the general medical examination of the population was continued, other necessary measures were implemented to increase people’s immunity. Also, the implementation of the measures provided for in the ‘Preparedness and Response Plan for Acute Infectious Disease’ (CPRP) and ‘Immediate Socio-Economic Response Plan to Acute Infectious Disease pandemic in Turkmenistan’ (SERP), approved by the Resolutions of the Esteemed President of Turkmenistan, was continued.

It would also be appropriate to note that in the past jubilee year, marked by the 30th anniversary of independence, 73 large facilities worth 13 billion manats instead of the planned 30 facilities were built and put into operation. The achieved milestone has created enabling conditions, on the one hand, for strengthening the economic power of the country, and on the other - for improving the social and living standards of citizens, in particular, ensuring their rights to comfortable housing and to work by creating jobs.

In order to provide an analysis of the state of affairs in the country in the field of human rights, accountability and transparency of activities carried out during the year by the Office of the Ombudsman, the website of the Office of the Ombudsman was created and put into operation last year in accordance with the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan approved on 27 February 2020 ‘On the Establishment of an Electronic Document Management system and Internet websites in Turkmenistan and their introduction’.

The above-mentioned and other significant events of the country, a detailed analysis of the practical implementation of objectives to ensure political, human, civil, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms, the work carried out by the Ombudsman during the year, are reflected in this Annual Report, comprising nine chapters.

In accordance with Article 20 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the report was submitted to the President of Turkmenistan for consideration and the Ombudsman delivered this report to the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan; it was also promulgated in the mass media of Turkmenistan and on the website of the Ombudsman.

Chapter I. Situation with ensuring and observing the human and civil rights and freedoms in Turkmenistan

This chapter, which provides an overview of the situation in the country on ensuring and observing human and civil rights and freedoms in the year marked by the 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence, begins with an analysis of the successes achieved by our state during this historical period.

Over the years of independence, Turkmenistan has established itself as a democratic, legal and secular state with a strong legislative foundation, ensuring broad human and civil rights and freedoms, creating all opportunities for creative activity and a decent life for people.

Over the years of independence, a person and the recognition of his dignity have been defined as the highest value of the state. During this period, the legislative framework for socio-economic and democratic transformations was constantly improved, effective methods and remedies for a person and a citizen were formed. Thus, concern for the comprehensive and prosperous life of the people has become one of the most important moral principles of the independent development of our country.

The norms guaranteeing the realization of human rights in our independent, permanently neutral country, were enshrined primarily in the Constitutional Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Independence and the Foundations of the State Structure of Turkmenistan’. The Law provides that the independence of Turkmenistan is proclaimed in the name of the highest goals - the acquisition by the Turkmenistan people of a genuine national statehood, ensuring to every person, regardless of differences, the rights and freedoms provided for by the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other norms of international law and by building a humane democratic society. Equality is an imperative and the moral basis of independence, a significant factor in the development of the individual, society and the state. During the years of independence, Turkmenistan joined the main international human rights instruments, which contributed to the formation of the legal framework for the protection of the rights and freedoms of every citizen and person, and implemented their norms into national legislation. Thus, fulfilling its international obligations, Turkmenistan has confirmed its commitment in this matter. Work in this direction was continued and the new benchmarks achieved in this area were confirmed by the results of the last reporting year. An example of this was Turkmenistan’s last year accession to the Convention ‘On Combating Discrimination in Education’, Convention No. 122, the Convention ‘On the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Forms of Cultural Expression’ and the practical implementation of the norms of these documents.

As noted in other chapters of the report, the period under review has been marked by historically significant events in legislative work and in the system of legislative power. Last year, the bicameral system of the national Parliament was established. In particular, the first elections of members of the Halk Maslahaty of Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan were held in March. These elections were held on the principles of democracy, a broad alternative, transparency and openness, in an atmosphere of socio-political activity. On 14 April, the first joint session of the two chambers of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, consisting of the Halk Maslahaty and the Mejlis, took place. It discussed organizational issues and other priority tasks facing this structure. The transition of the legislative body to a bicameral system has created ample opportunities for the adoption of laws that meet the requirements of the time, guaranteeing the human and civil rights and freedoms of public opinion based on the priority, as well as for strengthening parliamentary control over the implementation of these measures. The work of the bicameral national Parliament - Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, which was held in the first year, resulted in dozens of laws adopted in the field of human rights that meet the realities of the time. These laws and the work carried out last year by the Ombudsman’ to promote, within her competence, the improvement of national legislation can be found in detail in the chapter of the report on ‘The activities of the Ombudsman to promote the improvement of national legislation’.

The work aimed at ensuring a prosperous life, the economic interests of a person and a citizen, was continued in the year held under the motto ‘Turkmenistan is the Motherland of Peace and Trust’.

The evidence was the multilateral activities carried out within the framework of the implementation of dozens of transformative programmes, including:

The 'National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan, 2011-2030',

'The Concept of Development of the Digital Economy of Turkmenistan, 2019-2025',

'The State Programme for the Development of the Digital Economy of Turkmenistan, 2021-2025',

'The General Programme for the Provision of Settlements of Turkmenistan with Clean Drinking water',

‘The State Programme of Support for Small and Medium Enterprises in Turkmenistan, 2018-2024’,

‘Strategies for the Management and Reform of Enterprises with State Participation in Turkmenistan, 2021-2025’,

‘Programmes for the Development of the Intellectual Property System of Turkmenistan, 2021-2025’,

‘Concepts of Foreign Policy of Turkmenistan, 2017-2023’,

‘Programmes for the Development of Foreign Economic Activities of Turkmenistan, 2020-2025’.

Within the framework of these programmes, the objectives were being implemented in a concerted way to ensure the gradual transition of the national economy to market relations, digitalization and strengthening of the high-tech base, large-scale investing in industry, improving the social and living standards of the people. As a result of this activity, our country continued its harmonious development, despite the difficult current economic situation in the world. A clear confirmation of the stable development of the national economy was the GDP growth at the end of last year, which amounted to 6.2 %. This indicator guarantees the full enforcement of social and economic rights of citizens.

On 3 December 2021, in order to organize measures to reduce the impact of global economy challenges on the country’s economy, the ‘Programme to Reduce the Impact on the Country’s Economy of Challenges arising in the Global Economy and the Stable Development of the national economy for 2022’ and an Action Plan for its implementation were adopted. This Programme provided for the necessary measures to support the multidisciplinary and sustainable development of the national economy, as well as to provide state support to small and medium businesses, strengthen social security of the population and improve the living conditions of the people.

When reviewing the provision and observance of human rights in the country, it should be noted that over the past year, National Plans adopted for the purpose of strict observance of human rights have been effectively implemented. The activities provided for in the:

‘National Action Plan on Human Rights in Turkmenistan, 2021-2025’,

‘National Action Plan for Gender Equality in Turkmenistan, 2021-2025’,

‘National Action Plan for the Realization of Children’s Rights in Turkmenistan, 2018-2022’, ‘National Action Plan for the Elimination of Statelessness in Turkmenistan, 2019-2024’,

‘National Action Plan for combating Human Trafficking in Turkmenistan, 2020-2022’,

‘The National Action Plan, 2021-2024 on the implementation of the Strategy of Turkmenistan on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism, 2020-2024’,

‘The Action Plan for the implementation of the State Programme of Turkmenistan in the field of State Youth Policy, 2021-2025’ were implemented.

On the one hand, this demonstrated the implementation of multilateral efforts to ensure human rights in Turkmenistan, and on the other hand, it confirmed the commitment of our country to its international human rights obligations.

Last year, not only the above-mentioned programmes and plans were implemented in the country, but also significant practical steps were taken in the human dimension field.

For example, in the reporting year, in order to ensure reliable protection of citizens’ health during the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the following were approved: a new version of the State Programme ‘Saglyk/ Health’, ‘Preparedness and Response Plan for Acute Infectious Disease’, ‘National Programme to Increase the Immunization of the Population in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and the National Strategy ‘Healthy mother - Healthy child - Healthy future’.

In Turkmenistan, along with measures taken at the national level, special attention was paid to the issues of combating the pandemic globally and overcoming its consequences through the development of effective multilateral methods.

It is worth noting the important events that took place in the reporting year in the framework of international co-operation in the field of human rights. Special emphasis should be placed on the successful holding of the forum - the Dialogue of Women of Central Asian countries in Turkmenistan. The Women’s Dialogue serves as an effective platform for discussing issues such as the implementation of gender policy and strengthening the role of women in Central Asian countries.

During the reporting period, our country was active in the international arena. At the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Turkmenistan continued the practical implementation of international initiatives and proposals in all areas of international relations. Among the main topics were ensuring peace and security in the world, countering modern challenges and threats, achieving Sustainable Development Goals, environment and other issues.

In April last year, Turkmenistan was elected to the Executive Board of the UN entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) for 2022-2024. The work carried out within the framework of this body should contribute to the achievement of positive results in further promotion of international standards in gender equality, the empowerment of women not only at the national but regional levels.

Thus, it has been an opportunity for Turkmenistan to make a positive contribution to the implementation of issues on the agenda in the field of women’s rights at the global level and to demonstrate commitment in its policy to international obligations under these rights.

One of the significant events of last year was the International Conference on ‘The Policy of Peace and Trust – the Basis of International Security, Stability and Development’ held in December and dedicated to the 26th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s Permanent Neutrality. The forum has become a good platform for discussing the experience of co-operation established between Turkmenistan and international organizations, as well as promising joint projects and plans. Thus, a number of work plans for 2022 were signed between the ministries and sectoral departments of Turkmenistan and UN agencies. Among the signed documents were a Work plan for 2022 between the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which included measures aimed at further improving the situation of children in our country, ensuring their rights. This document was not the first document signed between the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, aimed at carrying out joint fruitful work to ensure the rights of children.

Turkmenistan as an active member of the world community, was taking important initiatives to develop broad international co-operation that meet the fundamental interests of all countries and peoples.

In the reporting year, the Resolutions on ‘The Role and Significance of the Policy of Neutrality in maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and the process of sustainable development’, ‘The Role of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia’, ‘Co-operation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization’, ‘Strengthening ties between Multimodal Transport for ensuring stable and reliable international transportation for sustainable development during and after the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19)’ were adopted along with proposals, initiated by Turkmenistan at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly and supported by the international community.

As for the work carried out within the framework of partnership with international organizations, Turkmenistan’s expanding co-operation with reputable international organizations in the humanitarian field should be highlighted.

During the past year, at meetings of the Interdepartmental Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, held with the participation of heads of representative offices of international organizations in our country, issues of expanding humanitarian co-operation with the United Nations and its main agencies, as well as methods and mechanisms for implementing national programmes and plans, including joint work plans, were discussed.

In the past reporting year, the Ombudsman, in accordance with the annual work plan, based on Article 44 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, established an Expert council and approved its Regulations in order to provide advisory assistance to the Ombudsman.

As part of the ongoing work on the transition to a digital system in the country in order to comply with the provisions on the transparency of Ombudsman’s activity of the said Law, a website of the Office of Ombudsman was set up. The website brings to the attention of public the information about the work of the Ombudsman, as well as about human rights.

The activities described above, including the activities of the Ombudsman carried out based on the Annual work plan, allow to get acquainted with the state of affairs on ensuring and practical implementation of human and civil rights and freedoms in the country.

The next chapter of the report will cover in detail the work carried out in various fields of human rights and its results.

Chapter II. Civil and political rights

The review of ensuring civil and political rights in the country notes that Turkmenistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols on 20 December 1996, and on 28 December 1999. Turkmenistan, having become a party to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, enshrined the norms of these documents in the national legislation. This confirmed the commitment of our country to the generally accepted norms of international law in this area, as well as the international obligations assumed and their consistent implementation in domestic and foreign policy.

The work carried out in the past reporting year that will be discussed further in detail, confirms the above. It should be said primarily about the activities carried out to strengthen the relevant legislative system and national legislation. Along with other laws, dozens of new laws have been adopted and improved through amendments and additions to the laws regulating civil and political rights of citizens, and some have been adopted in a new version. In particular, the adoption in the new version of the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On the Prevention and Elimination of Emergency’, ‘On Countering the Legalization of Proceeds from Crime, the Financing of terrorism and the Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction’; the improvement of the Penal Code of Turkmenistan, the Code of Administrative Offenses, the Civil Procedure Code of Turkmenistan, the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On Court’, ‘On the Border Troops of Turkmenistan’, ‘On Migration’, ‘On the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in Turkmenistan’ should be noted.

Here, a historical socio-political event in the system of the country’s legislature should be again emphasized. Last year, for the first time in history, the National Parliament of the country switched to a bicameral system, in particular, in March, elections of members of the Halk Maslahaty of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan were held and its composition was formed. On the one hand, it has expanded the opportunities of our citizens to elect and be elected to the representative legislative body, and on the other hand, to participate through elected representatives in addressing relevant issues of the country, drafting laws and effective compliance with the latter.

The right of every citizen to elect and be elected is his basic political right. The right of citizens to elect and be elected to state governing bodies is guaranteed and regulated by the Constitution, the Electoral Code and other legislative acts of the country.

On 28 March 2021, for the first time in the history of the people of Turkmenistan, the election of members of the Halk Maslahaty of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan was held. Unlike other elections, during the current election 56 members were elected to the Halk Maslahaty of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan. Based on indirect suffrage, eight members from each velayat (region) and the city of Ashgabat were elected by the members of the Halk Maslahaty of the velayats and the city of Ashgabat by secret ballot. Thus, in these elections, the territory of each velayat and the city of Ashgabat has become one of eight mandate districts.

As in the previous elections, the Ombudsman, in accordance with her official powers, monitored compliance with the requirements of the law during the conduct and preparation of these elections. The Ombudsman and the staff of the Office visited polling stations in the building of the House of Culture of the city Ak Bugday, Annau etrap (district), Ahal velayat and in the ‘Mekan’ Palace of the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat on the days of preparing to and conducting the elections. 112 candidates were represented during the elections, of which 83, or 74.11%, were men, and 29, or 25.89% - were women. In total, activity in Turkmenistan amounted to 98.7%. The elections were held in compliance with the principle of competition, 48 members were elected out of 112 candidates registered in the country. In addition, 440 national observers appointed by political parties, public organizations, citizens’ groups and candidates observed all stages of the elections.

According to the election data, there were no complaints to the Office of Ombudsman about the violation of their electoral rights from either citizens or candidates.

The observance of civil and political rights of citizens should focus on the work to eliminate statelessness carried out in the country. At the same time, it should be emphasized that as a result of the humane citizenship policy implemented in Turkmenistan, thousands of people receive citizenship of Turkmenistan every year. This proves the effective implementation of the objectives defined in the ‘National Action Plan for the Elimination of Statelessness in Turkmenistan for 2019-2024’, approved in January 2019 by the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan.

These humane actions continued during the past reporting year. In accordance with the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Citizenship of Turkmenistan’, the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan, 2,657 people of 21 nationalities permanently residing in our country have been granted citizenship of Turkmenistan. In addition, in accordance with the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan, 406 people received a residence permit in Turkmenistan. Over the past reporting year, the Office of Ombudsman received no appeals on citizenship issues, which was due to the effective work to eliminate statelessness carried out in the country.

The Annual work plan of the Ombudsman, along with other activities, provided for monitoring the implementation of civil and political rights of citizens. As part of this objective, in accordance with the provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, constant monitoring was carried out to ensure the rights of persons in remand, correctional and other specialized institutions, compliance with legislation in them, more precisely, the requirements of the Penal Enforcement Code of Turkmenistan.

The focus was on the issues of protecting the health of persons held in correctional institutions, pre-trial detention facilities and specialized rehabilitation centres, as well as full compliance with sanitary standards in these institutions, providing them with medical supplies. At a time when work is underway all over the world, as well as in our country, to counteract the spread of the pandemic of the acute infectious disease COVID-19, the observance of the rights to health protection of persons held in these institutions is of particular relevance. Thus, as a result of the monitoring over the past reporting period, the following has been established.

Based on the Order No. 62 of 18 March 2020 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan ‘On carrying out comprehensive work on the prevention of infectious diseases in the institutions of internal affairs of Turkmenistan’, the proper work was carried out to protect the health of persons held in correctional institutions, pre-trial detention centres and specialized rehabilitation centres of the Ministry, full compliance with sanitary standards in institutions, prevention of acute infectious disease COVID-19 and other diseases. In accordance with Order No. 587 of 29 December 2020 of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, the Main Pharmacy Department, together with the Medical Service under the Ministry, have established work to fully provide the listed institutions with pharmaceutical products. In 17 institutions, thermo-cameras ‘SATIR - Fever Inspection System CK350-F’, measuring body temperature were installed. Disinfection measures were carried out in the sleeping and working rooms of persons held in these institutions, canteens and other places; disinfection agents and ointments were used by the detainees, body temperature was measured daily using mobile temperature measuring devices.

Also, based on a special agreement concluded with the Sanitary Epidemiological Service of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, an analysis of the calorie content of prepared dishes, the microbiological, physic-chemical composition of drinking water, as well as studies to identify the E. coli group bacteria were carried out every ten days. The persons held in these places were given the antiviral drug ‘Rimantadin’, and a 4-valent vaccine ‘Ultriks’ against viral influenza. As of July 2021, PCR-tests were taken en masse to test for COVID-19; the components I and II of the Biovac vaccine were made against the viral infection COVID-19.

In the past reporting year, construction and repair work was carried out to improve the living conditions of persons held in correctional institutions, remand centres and specialized rehabilitation centres. Namely, in the Institutions AH-E/1, AH-E/2 of the Ahal velayat Police Department, BL-E/5 of the Balkan velayat Police Department, DZ-E/8 of the Dashoguz velayat Police Department, cooling and heating systems were repaired, administrative and disciplinary buildings were refurbished.

A new room for cultural recreation has been created for convicted persons in the specialized department of the Institution MR/16 of the Ahal velayat Police Department. The construction of a 2-storey 41-room building for long-term visits has been completed at the Institution MR/13 of the Mary velayat Police Department.

Judging by the above, the recommendations of the Ombudsman, which were made in the past years after the monitoring, were partially implemented. In particular, a new room for their cultural recreation has been created for convicted persons in the specialized department of the Institution MR/16 of the Ahal velayat Police Department.

As always, the Ombudsman focused on the issue of monitoring compliance with the rights of vulnerable groups of convicted persons, in particular minors and women in correctional institutions.

In the Institution MR/13 of the Mary velayat Police Department, where convicted minors were held, work was carried out to protect their health and improve living conditions. The right of persons held in this institution to receive secondary education was ensured. At secondary school No. 14 in Bayramaly, located on the territory of this institution, training was organized based on a plan approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs in coordination with the Minister of Education of Turkmenistan. In the past 2020-2021 academic year, 16 of them received certificates of secondary school education. During 2021, 17 convicted persons were released from punishment, of which 1 - upon the expiration of the sentence, and 16 - based on the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan on pardon.

During the reporting year, the Office of Ombudsman received no appeals from convicted minors and their relatives.

As mentioned above, in the Institution DZ-E/8 of the Dashoguz velayat Police Department for convicted women, work was carried out to protect their health and improve living conditions. Last year, as already noted, some work was carried out to overhaul the cooling and heating systems of this institution. During the reporting period, 557 convicted persons were released from punishment at this institution, of which 130 - upon the expiration of the term of the sentence, 427 - based on the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan on pardon. During the reporting year, the Office of Ombudsman received no appeals from convicted women and their relatives.

In continuation of the topic, it should be noted that as a result of the humane policy implemented based on the principles of mercy and humanism of our ancestors, as well as in order to further strengthen the unity and cohesion of the Turkmenistan society and each family, according to special Decrees of the President of Turkmenistan, an action is held annually to pardon thousands of convicted persons who repented of their deeds. This humane action was held three times in the year of the 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence. Based on the Decrees of the President of Turkmenistan, 3,437 convicted citizens were pardoned, including 59 citizens of foreign countries.

During the reporting period, the activities of the penitentiary system were improved, classes, seminars, workshops, meetings, the main purpose of which was to increase the knowledge of the system’s employees about international standards in relation to persons held in these places were systematically held. In particular, conferences and seminars were held with the participation of relevant specialists of correctional institutions, remand centres, specialized rehabilitation centres, organized by: the International Red Cross in Turkmenistan - 1, the UNDP Country Office - 2, the WHO Europe, Representation in Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry Turkmenistan - 2, the UNODC in Central Asian region - 1, the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat - 1. During the reporting period, 82 hours of service and combat training were conducted among the personnel of all correctional institutions, remand centres, specialized rehabilitation centres.

The Office of Ombudsman jointly with the UNDP organized a seminar on ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ and ‘International experience and rules of work in the field of human rights protection by national law enforcement agencies with the Bar Association and international human rights bodies’, aimed at raising awareness of law enforcement officers, including in the penitentiary system about international norms and principles in the field of human rights, indicators of UN legal assistance in the criminal judicial system.

It should be noted that Turkmenistan systematically submits National Reports to the relevant UN committees on the implementation of its international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; reviews and works on recommendations issued by members of these committees. The implementation of the objectives provided for in the National Action Plans approved in the country and dedicated to various areas of human rights can serve an example of studying and incorporating these recommendations. As part of this activity, a seminar was held last year with representatives of relevant institutions to discuss these recommendations. A seminar held by the Regional Office of the UNHCHR in Central Asia on the significance of the proposal to join the relevant Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, with the participation of representatives of relevant institutions can be given as an example.

In accordance with Article 21 of the Penal Enforcement Code of Turkmenistan, the commissions of supervision bodies, which have the right to visit institutions executing a custodial sentence without special permission, conducted inspections of compliance with the rights of persons held in these institutions, in particular, the prosecutor’s offices - 419, monitoring commissions - 12. In order to eliminate the shortcomings identified during the inspections, acts were issued providing for measures of prosecutorial response, 33 protests, 256 submissions, 88 resolutions, 4 warnings; according to the results of their consideration, 239 employees were brought to disciplinary responsibility. Specific work has been carried out in the course of the execution of submissions in certain institutions.

During the past year, the Office of Ombudsman received total 60 written and 15 oral appeals on civil and political rights, which were considered in accordance with the requirements of the law. Written answers were sent to the applicants and oral explanations were given.

Based on the results of the analysis of ensuring the political and civil rights of citizens in the country and the work carried out by the Ombudsman in this direction, in order to assist them in the observance of these rights, the following is offered:

- taking into account their partial implementation, continue carrying out specific activities on the recommendations issued by the Ombudsman based on the results of monitoring correctional institutions, remand centres, specialized rehabilitation centres carried out in previous years; 

 - continue holding regular workshops about international human rights standards together with national human rights bodies, and international organizations to raise awareness of correctional institutions, remand centres, specialized rehabilitation centres; 

- strengthen the work to ensure effective handling of citizens’ appeals related to civil and political issues by law enforcement and military authorities in accordance with the procedure and deadlines established by law; 

- strengthen supervision over registration and thorough examination of citizens’ complaints regarding dissatisfaction with investigative actions on offenses, criminal acts or initiated criminal cases, compliance with the constitutional rights of citizens when conducting investigative work by investigative bodies, in accordance with the established procedure; 

- ensure handling of citizens’ appeals on issues of their civil rights, according to their content, namely their rights to travel within the country, exit and entry into the country, and in accordance with the procedure and deadlines established by law.

 Chapter III. Economic, social and cultural rights

The motto of last year ‘Turkmenistan is the Motherland of Peace and Trust’ was in tune with the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly ‘2021 - International Year of Peace and Trust’ adopted on the initiative of the esteemed President of Turkmenistan.

Peace and trust ensure friendship throughout the world and, in turn, form the basis of economic development and social well-being.

The Motherland confidently follows the path of socio-economic prosperity because of a creative policy that defines a person as the highest value of society and the state. The national legislation aimed at protecting the interests of the state, society and each individual is being consistently improved in accordance with the requirements of the time.

During the reporting period, the improvement of legislation aimed at ensuring the economic, social and cultural development of the state, the systematic improvement of the humanitarian and social living conditions of the people was effectively carried out. During the year, dozens of laws regulating the activities of the economic, social, and cultural spheres of the country were adopted. Those included the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On Social Services’, ‘On the Prevention of Infectious Diseases’, ‘On the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases’, ‘On Public-Private Partnership’, ‘On Education’ (new version), ‘On Brand Names’, ‘On Trust Management of State Property’, ‘On Postal Communication’. The effective laws regulating the activities of the economic, social and cultural spheres have been improved by introducing amendments and additions in accordance with the realities of the time.

The adoption and phased implementation of the ‘National Programme to reduce the difficult circumstances prevailing in the global economy on the country’s economy and the sustainable development of the national economy for 2020-2021’ and the ‘Immediate Socio-Economic Response Plan to acute infectious disease pandemic in Turkmenistan’ have become a significant practical step at the state level in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the health of citizens, support of economic sectors.

During the period under review, in order to develop a high-tech and competitive digital economy by addressing the objectives of the ‘Concept for the Development of the Digital Economy in Turkmenistan, 2019-2025’, the widespread introduction of digital systems in the branches of national economy, the ‘State Programme for the Development of the Digital Economy of Turkmenistan, 2021-2025’ and an Action Plan for its implementation were adopted. In order to implement the project on ‘Single Window for Export-Import Operations’ in 2021-2023 between the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan and the UNDP, an Interdepertamental Commission was established to coordinate the activity of the ‘Single Window for Export-Import Operations’ system. In 2020 Turkmenistan received observer status in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The ‘Single Window’ system serves as the main legal document of the WTO and is one of the components of the ‘WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement’.

Indicators that determine the level of development of the state, and, above all, are aimed at ensuring the well-being of all people, represent the social sphere. The successes achieved over the years of independence and progress in the country’s economy have become a solid foundation for ensuring a prosperous life for people. The annual sustainable development of the national economy contributes to increasing investments aimed at expanding human potential, and other macroeconomic indicators achieved contribute to strengthening social security of the population and improving material and living conditions. Turkmenistan is creating a good opportunity for the active and effective implementation of social policy closely related to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. These include ensuring food security and improving the nutrition of the population, broad support for the principles of a healthy lifestyle, ensuring full gender equality, creating conditions for obtaining high-quality education.

The successful implementation of social policy and the implementation of the ‘National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of the country for 2011-2030’, the Programme of the President of Turkmenistan ‘On Socio-Economic Development of the country for 2019-2025’ can be observed in various areas, namely at secondary schools, the construction of health facilities and improving the provision of clean drinking water in all regions of the country.

Currently, in accordance with the ‘General Programme for Providing clean drinking water to settlements of Turkmenistan’, large-scale work is being carried out in Turkmenistan. A clear evidence of this is the construction and commissioning of modern drinking water and water treatment plants in various parts of the country.

Social security is one of the basic human rights and is determined by a set of measures and actions aimed at improving the living conditions of each individual. In accordance with Article 5 of the Basic Law, Turkmenistan is a state that guarantees the social security of every person. Social security mainly includes state benefits for children, state maternity benefits, as well as issues related to work injuries, illness, old age, disability and loss of breadwinner, health protection. Thus, social protection plays an important role in ensuring sustainable development, promoting justice and realizing the rights of social protection of all people. In this vein, the adoption of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Social Services’ should be noted, which establishes the legal, organizational and economic basis for the provision of social services to certain groups of citizens.

The main indicator that determines the social level of the population of any country is the level of material well-being of the people. Turkmenistan demonstrates constant steady growth in this regard. This is confirmed by an annual increase of 10% in wages, pensions, state benefits and student scholarships. On 25 September 2021, the esteemed President of Turkmenistan, in his speech at the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council) of Turkmenistan, emphasized the importance of ensuring the social protection of large families, providing legal support in this matter. With this in mind, amendments and additions were made to the Code of Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan in November.

Over the reporting period, in order to exercise her official powers to monitor the implementation of the rights of people in need of social support, the Ombudsman visited an Orphanage in the city of Ashgabat, a Residential home for people with disabilities and elderly people in Ashgabat, subordinated to the Ashgabat Health Department of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan. During the inspections, it was revealed that the requirements of the legislation were mostly observed, but at the same time, the following violations were revealed.

In particular, the Regulations of the Ashgabat City Children’s Home, subordinate to the Ashgabat City Health Department, provided for improving the professionalism of employees, conducting their certification, organizing explanatory events in maternity hospitals about the inadmissibility of abandoning children, but this work was not carried out. In addition, it was revealed that there were no books of registration of citizens’ appeals; no books of complaints and suggestions, as well as facts such as improper inventory of the property of the Children’s Home, despite the Order of 2021 on its conduct; fire safety rules were not fully observed.

The Residential home for people with disability and elderly people also revealed the absence of books of registration of citizens’ appeals, books of complaints and suggestions, as well as facts such as improper inventory, despite the Order of 2021 on its conduct; fire safety rules were not fully observed.

Recommendations to the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry in accordance with the Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Ombudsman’ concerning the elimination of violations identified during inspections, ensuring monitoring over the work performance in line with normative legal acts of Turkmenistan and request to inform the Ombudsman within a month about the work done. Appropriate responses to the recommendations were received.

During the reporting period, the Office of Ombudsman received three written appeals on social protection issues. It appears that the small number of appeals on this issue has become the result of ensuring the socio-economic rights of citizens of the country in relation to any person in any situation.

In the reporting year, the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) under the chairmanship of Turkmenistan was held in Ashgabat. This event demonstrated once again the responsible approach of Permanently Neutral Turkmenistan in addressing issues of developing large-scale effective co-operation on a bilateral and multilateral basis with reputable international organizations.

The key objective of the country’s economic strategy is the formation of a socially oriented market economy that provides social guarantees for all segments of the population, the gradual creation of a high-level entrepreneurial and modern market infrastructure, the formation of a national economy capable of ensuring the long-term sustainable development of the country.

Based on that, one of the priority areas of economic policy is the creation of the most conducive environment for the development of entrepreneurship, comprehensive support for small and medium-sized businesses. This is confirmed by the improvement of the tax system, facilitation of export-import operations, soft lending, and facilitation of procedures for allocating land plots, credit, customs and trade operations. All these measures were being taken as part of the consistent implementation of the ‘State Programme to Support Small and Medium-sized Businesses for 2018-2024’. This Programme was aimed at ensuring high rates of economic and social development through prioritization of business.

In order to increase the share of the private sector in the innovative development of the country, expand market relations, enhance public-private partnership, and ensure stable economic development, the ‘Strategy for Management and Reform of State-owned Enterprises in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and an Action Plan for the implementation of this Strategy were adopted in 2021. New and improved existing laws were introduced aimed at improving the efficiency of industries in a market economy, supporting the business initiative of people. The adoption last year of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Public-Private Partnership’ was designed to promote the establishment of public-private co-operation, the development of the national economy by private entrepreneurs through upgrading and diversification, the creation of modern production facilities focused on the products conforming to international standards.

The support of private entrepreneurship on the one hand ensures the economic rights of citizens, and on the other - contributes to the realization of their rights to employment, in particular, the right to work. The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan unites in its ranks about 27,000 representatives of the private sector employed in various sectors of the national economy, of which 5,231 are women. During the reporting period, 1,513 entrepreneurs were accepted as members of the UIET, of which 204 were women. Last year, 1,449 jobs were created in the private sector.

As a result of the implementation of a number of investment projects, new jobs have been created in Turkmenistan. It should be noted that in order to support small and medium-sized businesses in our country, stimulate entrepreneurial activity in various sectors of the national economy, improve state support for entrepreneurs, further enhance the role of entrepreneurship in the economy, as well as create new jobs, the Decree ‘On State Financial Support for Entrepreneurship’ was signed by the esteemed President of Turkmenistan on 8 June 2021.

In accordance with the updated data on the results of systematic monitoring carried out by the Office of Ombudsman in the past year, in 2021, 31,180 people looking for work, were registered by the labour and social security authorities, of which 15,196, in particular, 48% were employed. It is also important to note that 43 of them had disabilities.

In order to ensure the full right of citizens to work, Turkmenistan, as a full member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since September 1993, has ratified a number of conventions of this organization, and last year joined Convention No. 122 ‘On Employment Policy’.

In this context, the Ombudsman constantly reviewed and monitored the proposals of international organizations in the field of human rights.

One of the priority vectors of the Ombudsman’s activity was the protection of children’s rights. According to the Annual work plan of the Office, relevant work was being carried out in this direction, including monitoring compliance with the provisions of national legislation regarding the prohibition of illegal involvement of children in labour activity. Thus, in line with this work, in accordance with Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ and in order to prevent the involvement of children in such types of work as cotton picking and other agricultural work, cargo transportation, relevant recommendations have been sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan, the hyakimliks of the velayats (regional governors’ offices) and the city of Ashgabat in order to strengthen monitoring for the prevention of the illegal use of child labour.

The above shows that during the reporting period, significant work was carried out in the country to meet the constitutional right of every person to work. Despite this, the Office of Ombudsman received a certain part of appeals on labour issues. In particular, during the period under review, the number of appeals on labour issues amounted to 23 written or 9.8%, and oral - 5 or 4.5% of the total number of appeals, most of which were related to employment. The appeals were handled in accordance with the established legislation, and appropriate advices were given.

Great attention is paid to the implementation of state programmes for the industrialization of the country, housing construction, comprehensive development of the regions, and the formation of modern transport infrastructure.

In accordance with the Constitution of Turkmenistan, every citizen has the right to housing and the support of the state in obtaining or acquiring a comfortable living space and in the construction of an individual residential building. With the implementation of the ‘Programme of the President of Turkmenistan on Socio-Economic Development of the country for 2019-2025’, the scale of construction of modern, comfortable residential buildings by state and private construction companies is expanding annually.

In the year marked by celebrations on the occasion of the glorious 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s Independence, opening ceremonies for hundreds of residential buildings, schools and pre-schools, healthcare, sports and industrial facilities, parks were held in various parts of the country. For example, in the reporting year 73 large facilities were put into operation. Residential buildings constituted a significant part of these facilities, thousands of families received keys to their apartments. It should be noted that among them were citizens in need of better housing conditions. For example, on the eve of a significant date - the 30th anniversary of the sacred independence of the Motherland, a new four-storey apartment building was commissioned in Dashoguz velayat, forty-eight apartments of which were distributed to citizens who needed better housing conditions. The State Budget of the country for 2022 also provided special funds for the construction of housing for people in need of better housing conditions.

As noted above, despite the expanding scale of construction of social facilities in the country, the bulk of the appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman related to housing issues, namely, 70 written appeals or 29.7%, 51 oral or 46.0% of the total number of appeals were received during the year. Relevant decisions, according to the law, were taken with relation to these appeals, of which two were satisfied. Despite the large-scale activities carried out in the country in order to ensure the rights of citizens to comfortable housing, every year a certain part of the appeals concerns housing issues. In some cases, the reason for this is the violation of the legal rights of citizens, in others - illegal actions of the relevant officials. Specific examples on this issue may be found in the chapter ‘Inquiries and Recommendations of the Ombudsman’.

Sustainable economic growth creates enabling conditions for the development of healthcare. During the reporting year, that is the period when the COVID-19 pandemic was being fought all over the world, important measures aimed at protecting public health and improving the quality of medical services provided were carried out. The country has achieved a great lot in the fight against various diseases, and this fight remains the focus of constant attention. Currently, enabling legal, economic, financial and social conditions have been created for the effective and co-ordinated development of this sphere, and national laws related to the strengthening and protection of citizens’ health and disease prevention are being consistently improved.

During the reporting period, the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On the Prevention of Infectious Diseases", "On the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases’, ‘On amendments and additions to the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Environmental Safety’ were adopted.

The adoption of national programmes and plans aimed at addressing urgent problems of our time should be specifically emphasized. For example, in order to prevent and combat non-communicable diseases in Turkmenistan, to ensure the health of citizens based on national and universal values, the ‘National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and an Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy were adopted.

It is also important to note that during the reporting period, a new version of the State Programme ‘Saglyk/ Health’, ‘The Plan to ensure preparedness for countering and responding to acute infectious diseases of the country’, ‘The National Programme to increase the immunity of the population in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and the National Strategy ‘Healthy mother - Healthy child - Healthy future’ were approved. The National Strategy ‘Healthy mother - Healthy child - Healthy future’ encompasses issues of child health protection at all stages of life and fully meets the objectives of the ‘Programme of the President of Turkmenistan on Socio-Economic Development of the country for 2019-2025’, the country’s legislation and Turkmenistan’s obligations to achieve SDGs.

Proper nutrition plays an important role in protecting the health and comprehensive development of the child. Within the framework of the ‘National Programme for Healthy Nutrition of the population for 2020-2025’, Turkmenistan, together with UNICEF, is building up experience in breast-feeding and supplemental nutrition, fortification of food with micronutrients in accordance with age. The National Strategy for Early Child Development in Turkmenistan for 2020-2025 covers issues of interagency participation in important areas of early child development.

During the reporting period, within the framework of this Strategy, close co-operation continued in such areas as increasing the availability of high-quality medical services, diagnosing the danger of disability and lagging behind development, providing constant support to the families of these children. At the same time, the main goal was to ensure the rights to the full realization of the child’s potential by providing comprehensive support to the family.

Comprehensive care of children, creation of favourable conditions for raising them physically and spiritually healthy, ensuring the right of young Turkmenistan citizens to education, health protection, etc., were identified among the key aspects of the state’s social policy. In accordance with the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan and in order to provide social support to the younger generation, assist in restoring the health of children in need of guardianship, as well as create favourable conditions for their happy life, the formation of such high human qualities in them, a special charitable foundation was established in March 2021. By the Resolution of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, the Charitable Foundation for Assistance to Children in Need of Guardianship was named after Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Large-scale effective work has been carried out since the foundation was established. A good example of this was the allocation from the Fund of ambulances equipped with modern equipment to the pediatric departments of the city and etrap (district) hospitals of the Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap and Mary velayats. Guided by the instructions of the Head of state, operations and treatment of children in need of guardianship were carried out at the Ene Mahri Scientific and Clinical Centre of the capital, as well as the Ene Mahri Scientific and Clinical Centres of Mary and Lebap velayats at the expense of the Fund; doctors carried out appropriate monitoring of their health. The operations and treatment of children who were raised in orphanages, specialized schools and boarding schools were paid from the Charity Fund.

Much attention is paid in the country to establishing conducive environment for recreation and restoring people’s health. People use the services of recreation centres, preventive and therapeutic sanatoria equipped with modern equipment, rich in natural healing springs and located in all velayats of the country. Within the framework of the State Programme ‘Saglyk’, a lot of work is being done to modernize the system of sanatoria. To this end, the ‘National Programme for the development of the sanatorium system of Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and the Action Plan for its implementation have been adopted and are under way.

During the period under review, the work on the prevention of diseases carried out in the field of healthcare was strengthened. Thus, universal vaccination of the population was carried out with the vaccines ‘Sputnik V’, ‘EpiVacCorona”, ‘CoronaVac’, ‘BIOVac’ and ‘Sputnik Light’.

During the past year, the Office of the Ombudsman received only 5 written and 3 oral appeals on health protection issues from citizens, which were handled in accordance with the procedure established by law.

One of the basic and inalienable constitutional rights of citizens of the country is the right to education and science. The socio-economic transformations currently underway require the reform of the scientific and educational sphere. Attention is paid primarily to improving the legal framework of this area, bringing the system into compliance with international standards by acceding international instruments.

In June last year, a new version of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Education’ was adopted, which was designed to promote the introduction of new educational standards, advanced methods, and the creation of new opportunities for expanding co-operation with international organizations and world educational centres.

Citizens of Turkmenistan, regardless of nationality, gender and other characteristics, are guaranteed the opportunity to get an education. In order to strengthen the international legal framework for activities in this area, Turkmenistan joined the Convention ‘On Combating Discrimination in Education’ in the reporting year.

Other activities aimed at ensuring the comprehensive development of the younger generation, upbringing and obtaining high-quality education are also being carried out in Turkmenistan; state programmes are being successfully implemented, including the objectives of the ‘Programme for improving the activities of pre-school institutions in the field of early development and improving the preparation of a child for school in Turkmenistan for 2020-2025’ and the ‘Concept for improving teaching subjects in natural and exact sciences in Turkmenistan’. In accordance with the objectives set in the Concept for the transition to twelve-year secondary education, the development of a digital education system, the improvement of teaching foreign languages and improving the effectiveness of teaching relevant subjects in natural and exact sciences, advanced methods and achievements of science, innovative technologies in pedagogical and educational work were being widely introduced.

Computers were presented to first-graders as a gift on behalf of the esteemed President of Turkmenistan. Therefore, in the reporting year, 161,739 first grade students were donated computers ‘Bilimli’.

The creation of a completely new industry for the country - the production of computers is an important factor to address the issue of meeting the needs of the country’s economy in its own information technologies.

Last year, much attention was paid to the development of the digital education system. In particular, in accordance with the Decree of the Head of State, the Scientific Centre for Strategic Studies, the School of a Young Diplomat and the Department of Digital Systems and Communications were established at the Institute of International Relations under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.

Our country is developing co-operation with international organizations aimed at implementing world standards in the educational sphere, mainly with the UN agencies - UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, the UN Specialized Agency for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO); joint projects and work plans are being implemented. The work carried out in this direction is aimed at creating the necessary conditions for the modern upbringing of the younger generation and their obtaining a quality education.

At the same time, dozens of modern educational institutions, which were aimed at ensuring that the younger generation received high-quality education, were put into operation during the reporting period.

During the period under review, the Ombudsman kept in the focus of constant attention issues related to the realization of the right of children to education, the prevention of illegal involvement of school students in work. As part of this work, the Ombudsman visited educational institutions, for example, Secondary School No. 50 and the Auxiliary School of the city of Ashgabat, which were under the Department of Education of Ashgabat. Despite general compliance with the requirements of the legislation, the following violations were identified there.

In particular, in secondary school No. 50 of Ashgabat city, such shortcomings as the lack of a school Regulations, inadequate provision of the medical office with first aid medical supplies, and the absence of medical devices (a tonometer and thermometer) were revealed; fire safety rules were not observed.

Despite the fact that the Provision of the Auxiliary School of the city of Ashgabat defined the creation of the necessary conditions for the adequate education and upbringing of children in the school, school students were not provided with special textbooks, devices and equipment, taking into account the characteristics of children. Fire safety requirements were not met, the low level of medical supplies in the medical room was observed, and the available ones were stored improperly, due to the lack of special cabinets. The number of children in classes exceeded the normative, there was no gym for physical education of children, there were no specialists as psychologist and special education teacher, and regulatory legal acts were not registered in the prescribed manner.

In accordance with Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, a recommendation was sent to the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan to eliminate violations identified during inspections and ensure oversight for the implementation of relevant regulatory legal acts of Turkmenistan and inform the Ombudsman within a month about the work done. Appropriate responses to the recommendations were received.

During the reporting period, the Office of Ombudsman received 1 written and 3 oral appeals on the right to education, which were considered in accordance with the procedure established by law.

In accordance with the Constitution of the country, the right of every person to participate in cultural life, freedom of artistic, scientific and technical creativity is guaranteed. Dozens of laws define the legal basis for the activities of the cultural sphere; there are all opportunities for the realization of cultural rights for every person living in our multinational country, including for representatives of other nationalities.

Various cultural events, creative contests, briefings, online meetings, concerts dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the city of Ashgabat, the 30th anniversary of the sacred independence of the country and the 26th anniversary of the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan were held during the year.

In the domestic and foreign policy of independent, permanently neutral Turkmenistan, a special role is assigned to the development of the cultural sphere. The development of culture and art contributes to raising the level of culture consciousness of the population. In accordance with the ‘Programme for the Development of the Cultural Sphere in Turkmenistan for 2019-2025’, the necessary work is being carried out to improve the work of theaters, cinema and concert centres, libraries, museums, art schools, including for children, cultural centres, state historical and cultural reserves.

Over the past year, dozens of exhibitions of works by masters of the arts, museum valuables and arts and crafts have been organized online.

Every year, from 22 to 27 June, a Week of Culture is held in the country, including in the regions. Last year, in the year of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Independence of the Turkmen state, a large-scale creative event was held in Lebap velayat. Within its framework, ceremonies were held to award workers of culture, arts with honorary titles of Turkmenistan; winners of the competition of the President of Turkmenistan ‘Türkmeniń Altyn asyry’ among young performers and gifted children were named.

Representatives of various ethnicities living in our country took part in these events with their national concert repertory. In this context, it should be noted that Turkmenistan has acceded the Convention ‘On the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Forms of Cultural Expression’. The significance of this fact lies in fostering an atmosphere of friendship and trust between states and peoples based on open and constructive cultural and humanitarian negotiations, our country’s commitment to the protection of national and global cultural heritage.

During the reporting period, the Office of Ombudsman received no complaints regarding violations of cultural rights.

Based on the findings of the analysis of ensuring the economic, social and cultural rights of citizens in the country and the results of the work carried out by the Ombudsman aimed at promoting the provision of these rights, including the recommendations issued in previous years, the following can be proposed:

- continue reviewing the proposals of the UN treaty bodies and carrying out relevant work on them in order to promote strict compliance with the country’s international obligations to implement the economic, social and cultural rights of citizens;

- in order to prevent further complaints about the distribution of apartments in residential buildings with all amenities commissioned by ministries and sectoral departments, strengthen monitoring for conducting, in accordance with the requirements of the law, a thorough analysis of the priority for housing of employees of relevant institutions in need of the housing, taking into account its sequential phased construction;

- carry out systematic monitoring of the activities of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan, departments and units of labour and social security of the population, including the reliability of information on vacancies submitted by institutions and organizations to these structures, the results of the referral of citizens in need for employment, including persons with disabilities;

- strengthen monitoring of compliance with the requirements of international obligations in the field of ensuring the rights of people with disabilities, the realization of their rights to access social services, in particular, in buildings, transport and other service sectors;

- in order to increase the capabilities of people with disabilities ensure the availability of published information and works, television, in particular, the use of Braille, subtitles, sign language interpreter services;

- taking into account the appeals of people received by the Office of Ombudsman on various issues of the private sector entities, the number of which is increasing due to the transition to private ownership in the country; the people who are in legal relations with these legal entities, privately working for individuals and legal entities engaged in business and due to the lack of legal grounds for considering them by the independent bodies for the protection of their rights, study the relevant international experience and identify the importance and possibilities of creating such bodies in our country. 

Chapter IV. Analysis of handling appeals of citizens 

The Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ states that the Ombudsman’s activities complement the existing state remedies for human and civil rights and freedoms, and his activities do not entail limiting the competence of other public authorities in this area. In this context, one of the main tasks of the Ombudsman, as with other bodies provided for in the legislation, is the consideration of citizens’ complaints. The provisions on the specifics of the appeal to the Ombudsman are set out in detail in the relevant articles of the said Law, in particular, the procedure for filing, conditions and terms of consideration of the appeal to the actions and decisions of officials and organizations related to the violation of the rights and freedoms of citizens. The Law also states that the Ombudsman has the right to apply to the competent public authorities for assistance in verifying complaints, and when violations of human and civil rights are established, he has the right to send his advisory recommendation on their immediate restoration.

In accordance with these provisions, the activities of the Ombudsman for 2021 on the handling appeals were analyzed.

During the period under review, 355 appeals were registered in the Office of the Ombudsman, of which 244 were in writing and 111 were oral. In the table below, these indicators were divided by quarter:

As can be seen from the indicators, the number of registered written complaints increased in the second quarter, and decreased in the third and fourth quarters. The analysis of oral appeals shows that their number increased in the third quarter, and decreased in the fourth.

Compared to previous years, the number of both written and oral appeals decreased in 2021.

Based on the annual indicators, this fact can be explained to a certain extent by the effectiveness of measures to raise public awareness in the field of human rights carried out on the basis of the Annual work plan of the Ombudsman.

In connection with the restrictions imposed due to the fight against COVID-19 worldwide, including in connection with the implementation of measures to counteract and prevent diseases in our country, in most cases the Ombudsman met with public authorities and local self-government bodies on the ground, their responsible employees, received local citizens, and carried out the activities to address the issues raised, in online mode. An opportunity was also created for citizens to contact the Office of Ombudsman by telephone. In addition, as of 16 April 2021, the Ombudsman’s website, on which the address of the Office and contact phone numbers were indicated, was put into operation.

In order to clarify the procedure for citizens’ appeals to the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, a special manual has been issued in written and oral, and an electronic format has been posted on the website to ensure its accessibility.

An overview of the written appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman during the year will be given starting from this part of the report. The following table shows the analysis data on written requests by region and quarter:

These indicators show that most of the total number of written appeals, or 40.2% or 98 appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman, were from the city of Ashgabat. 44 appeals or 18% were registered from Balkan velayat; Dashoguz velayat – 27 or 11.1%; Lebap velayat – 26 or 10.6%; Mary velayat – 28 or 11.5%. The lowest indicator for Ahal velayat was 19, which is equal to 7.8% in relation to the total number of appeals registered by the Office. During the period under review, 2 complaints were received from a foreign citizen living abroad. The Ombudsman, in accordance with part 2 of Article 19 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, considers complaints of foreign citizens residing in the territory of Turkmenistan. Despite the fact that both appeals of this citizen were registered, they remained not considered.

As established by Article 21 of the said Law, when applying to the Ombudsman, privileges or restrictions to applicants are not allowed. This provision was strictly observed. The number of citizens, who applied in writing, including those who collectively applied to the Office of the Ombudsman, were analyzed. Information about their regions of residence, gender and nationality are given in the following table:

It can be seen from the above indicators that citizens who have filed written complaints with the Office of Ombudsman represented various nationalities. In accordance with the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, applicants have the right to apply to the Ombudsman in their native language or another language they are fluent. According to the Law, the answer was given in the state language with a translation into the language that the applicant was fluent.

In their appeals to the Ombudsman, the applicants raised various issues. In this regard, an analysis of their content was carried out, the results of which are reflected in the following table:

From the 244 written appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman during the period under review, 8 complaints were repeatedly written by the applicants before they received answers. They were combined with previously received complaints and their repeated questions were not included in the above table. Thus, the percentage ratio for each question was derived without taking into account repeated duplicate statements.

As can be seen from the analysis, most of the written appeals of citizens, as in previous years, were related to the housing issue (70 or 29.7%). Compared to last year, this indicator increased by 5. Last year, 65 appeals were received from citizens on housing law issues, which amounted to 22.1%. If in previous years the appeals mainly touched upon labour issues, then in the reporting year the number of appeals on this issue decreased, and 23 appeals in total were registered, which was equal to 9.8%. 33 appeals, or 14% of the total number, were appeals expressing dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers. 14 or 5.9% related to disagreement with court decisions; 12 - to migration issues and 12 - to complaints on criminal cases and criminal acts, each of them is 5.1%; 6 appeals were registered on land law and banking issues, or each of them amounted to 2.5%; on issues of the right to protection health - 5 or 2.1%; social security and pardon - 3 or 1.3%; on the execution of court decisions, guardianship-custodianship issues - 2 or 0.8%; 1 or 0.4% - a complaint related to the right to education, the remaining 44 or 18.7% – other issues.

Other issues included appeals related to citizens’ dissatisfaction with the actions of heads of institutions or officials, debt or property disputes, or conflicts with relatives or neighbours, or a request for clarification of legislation on certain issues. This also included complaints from applicants whose appeals to institutions and organizations remained unanswered or who were dissatisfied with the answers received, etc.

In the analysis, special attention was also paid to the priority of certain issues by region; in particular, if housing was the main issue in Ashgabat, then in Balkan velayat it was the labour law.

It should be noted that in comparison with last year, the number of complaints about disagreement with court decisions and dissatisfaction with their execution, as well as appeals on migration issues, has decreased. At the beginning of the report, it was already noted that the total number of appeals received from citizens also decreased during the reporting period.

The Ombudsman, upon receipt of citizens’ complaints to the Office, takes a decision to accept it for proceeding, to refuse admission or to explain to the applicant about the remedies for his rights and freedoms.

Decisions have been made to take the complaints for proceedings, the procedure, the deadlines for filing, and the content of which meet the requirements. After registration and consideration of them in accordance with the established procedure, responses were sent to them.

After a full study of the issues raised in these complaints, in the reporting year, based on Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the Ombudsman’s requests were sent to the competent authorities and executive authorities, as well as officials, for assistance in checking facts indicated in the complaints. The citizens were given the appropriate answers based on the results of the fact checking and in agreement with it.

At the same time, during the reporting period, based on Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, recommendations were sent to the relevant authorities, and citizens were informed about them.

According to the Ombudsman’s requests for assistance in conducting monitoring of citizens’ appeals, as well as on her recommendations, satisfactory decisions were made. They can be found in detail in the chapter ‘Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman’ of the report. Some citizens’ appeals to address the issues raised in them were sent by affiliation. The appeals were sent to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan according to their affiliation and based on the results of their consideration responses were sent to citizens.

However, complaints that did not comply with the established requirements of the Law, remained unhandled. For example, appeals that did not disclose the main essence of the issue or were unsigned, sent in violation of the filing deadlines or on issues beyond the competence of the Ombudsman remained unaddressed.

As defined by the Law, one of the types of complaints that remained unaddressed were repeated complaints, in particular, if they did not indicate new circumstances or facts. These complaints were left without consideration.

The applicants, as provided by Law, were notified within no more than five days of the decision made on the acceptance of the complaint or refusal to accept, and its grounds.

The following table shows the results of the analysis based on the results of the consideration of appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman by region. The appeals pending from last year at the beginning of the reporting period were also included in the table.

Approximately one third, namely, 85 or 34.2% of the 244 written appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman last year, were responded with advices explaining the remedies for protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms. As a rule, this helped applicants to act legally when solving their issues.

As the table shows, 79 appeals were accepted for proceedings by the Office of Ombudsman, of which 74 or 30.2% were accepted for proceedings this year. According to one of them, a request was initially sent to the competent authority for assistance in checking the fact raised in the citizen’s appeal, but due to disagreement with the results of the audit conducted by this authority and in order to take specific action on the appeal, the Ombudsman has sent recommendation to this authority.

The remaining 4 appeals accepted for proceedings since last year were previously sent for consideration to the competent authorities on the basis of Article 27 of the Law, the necessary documents were requested for 1 appeal from the relevant organization. All appeals were considered and 1 was satisfied. 65 or 89% of the appeals accepted for proceedings last year, on the basis of article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ were sent to the relevant authorities with a request for assistance in fact checking indicated in the appeals. Recommendations were sent to the competent authorities on 5 appeals based on Article 30 of the same Law. In addition, 4 appeals by affiliation were sent to the relevant authorities. 6 or 9.2% of the 65 considered appeals were satisfied, 8 remained pending at the end of the year.

According to the results of the review of the remaining appeals from last year, 3 were satisfied. Thus, 9 appeals were satisfied during the reporting period. The results of the analysis of these appeals can be found in the chapter ‘Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman’.

The above table also shows the analysis data by region. From Ashgabat 98 appeals were received, 2 of which were combined with duplicates. 19 or 19.8% of 96 appeals based on Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, 4 based on Article 30 of the same Law were sent to the competent authorities. Of these 19, one or 5.3% was considered and received appropriate responses, one appeal accepted for proceedings, the required documents were received from the relevant organization and a response was sent to the applicant about the results, 4 appeals sent to the organization for consideration remained pending at the end of the year. 44 appeals were received from Balkan velayat, of which 3 were combined with duplicates. Thus, 16 or 39% of 41 appeals based on article 27 of the Law were sent to the competent authorities, 1 - by affiliation to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan. Of these, 16 were reviewed, 1 or 6.3% were satisfied, 1 remained pending at the end of the year. 27 appeals were received from Dashoguz velayat, of which 5 or 18.5% were sent to the competent authorities based on Article 27 of the Law, 2 - by affiliation to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan. All were considered, satisfied - 1 or 14.3%. 26 appeals from Lebap velayat were registered, 1 of them was combined with a duplicate. Thus, 7 or 28% of 25 appeals based on Article 27 of the Law were sent to the competent authorities, 1 - by affiliation to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan. All were considered, 2 or 28% were satisfied. 28 appeals were received from Mary velayat, 1 was combined with a duplicate. Thus, out of 27 appeals, 11 or 40.7% were sent to the competent authorities based on Article 27 of the Law, 9 of which were considered, 2 remained pending at the end of the year; a total of 19 appeals were received in Ahal Velayat, 1 of which was combined with a duplicate. Thus, 7 or 38.9% of 18 appeals based on Article 27 of the Law and 1 based on Article 30 of the same Law were sent to the competent authorities. 7 were considered, 1 or 14.3% satisfied, 1 remained pending at the end of the year. Thus, out of 74 appeals sent for consideration to the competent authorities and by affiliation, 66 were considered, of which 6 were satisfied and, based on the responses received, answers were sent to the applicants about the results of their consideration, 8 remained pending at the end of the year.

It was noted above that after the appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman were accepted for proceedings, requests for assistance in fact checking indicated in the appeals or recommendations thereto were sent to the competent authorities, or statements on the affiliation of the consideration of the issues raised in the appeals were sent to the competent authorities. In this regard, an analysis of the results of the consideration of these appeals by the organizations to which they were sent was carried out. This information is shown in the following table.

As can be seen from the table, 65 of the written appeals received by the Office of Ombudsman and accepted for proceedings were sent to the relevant authorities based on Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, 5 – based on Article 30 of the same Law with the indication by the Ombudsman of the terms of their consideration, and 4 - by affiliation.

Timely responses were received to the appeals sent by affiliation for consideration of the issues raised in the appeals, and appropriate responses were sent to citizens. 5 out of 65 appeals sent to the competent authorities with a request for assistance in consideration remained pending at the end of the year. Half of the 60 appeals reviewed, in particular 32 or 53.3%, were answered in violation of the established deadlines. It can be seen from the above table that, in general, the terms of consideration were violated by the hyakimliks of the velayats and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan. When analyzing this category of appeals, it was found that the violation of deadlines was justified due to the need for additional or special fact checking.

For example, despite the fact that only 1 appeal was sent to the Hyakimlik of Dashoguz velayat based on Article 27 of the Law, the response to it was received late. As it was explained, the appeal required a special check. In addition, 6 out of 20 complaints sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan were answered late. Almost every one of them required additional verification, and only 1 complaint was satisfied.

12 appeals were sent to the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat based on Articles 27 and 30 of the Law, 9 of them were answered late. For one of them, a full check was not carried out, as a result of which the answer was found unsatisfactory. The appeal with the recommendation of the Ombudsman was re-sent to the city hyakimlik. As a result, responses to this and two other appeals sent based on Article 30 of the Law were not received in a timely manner, which rendered them unaddressed at the end of the year. Taking into account these facts, the recommendation of the Ombudsman was sent to the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat, in which it was recalled that 3 appeals were not answered in a timely manner, and there was a violation of the requirements of the legislation regarding citizens’ appeals, in particular, the established deadlines for consideration.

3 out of 4 appeals sent to the Hyakimlik of Ahal velayat were answered late, 1 appeal was pending at the end of the year because a timely response was not received.

5 out of 7 appeals sent to the Hyakimlik of Balkan velayat were answered late; additional verification was required for 1 collective appeal, and a satisfactory answer was given based on the results of its consideration.

The irresponsible approach of the heads of institutions and organizations to appeals led to violation of the terms of consideration of citizens’ appeals. This led to a violation of the terms of consideration not only on their part, but also, consequently, on the part of the Ombudsman, and as a result, citizens repeatedly applied to the Office of Ombudsman. In particular, during the reporting year, as already noted above, due to the receipt of late responses, 8 complaints received by the Office were considered by combining them with the previous ones.

In some cases, mainly for complaints to which responses were delayed, written notifications were sent to the relevant managers because systematic telephone conversations with responsible employees of these organizations and institutions did not have the desired effect. For example, such notifications were sent to the hyakimliks of the city of Ashgabat and Balkan velayat.

During the period under review, the Office of Ombudsman registered 111 oral appeals of citizens, for which an analysis was carried out by region. The results of the analysis are given in the following table.

The analysis of oral appeals was also carried out, broken down by quarters and by the number of applicants.

According to the indicators, as in previous years, the main part of oral appeals, in particular, 67 or 60.4% fell on the city of Ashgabat. One of the reasons for this was the location of the Office of Ombudsman in Ashgabat that was accessible for citizens. Compared to previous year, the number of oral appeals has almost halved, in particular, if 226 appeals were registered in the previous year, then 111 in the reporting period. This is explained by the same fact that was indicated earlier in the part of the analysis of written appeals.

As can be seen, during the year, the number of applicants for 111 registered oral appeals, of which 18 were collective, amounted to 123. An analysis was also carried out on the gender and nationality of citizens, according to which the number of female was 80, male - 43. The applicants were representatives of different nationalities, in particular, Turkmens - 102; Russians – 11; Kazakhs – 3; Uzbeks and Bashkirs – 2 each; Lezghin, Tatar and Armenian – 1 each. As a whole, the percentage of representatives of other nationalities to Turkmens was 17.1%.

The analysis of applicants on national or other grounds indicated the creation of equal opportunities for everyone to exercise their rights. As noted above, applicants have the right to receive responses to written requests in the language in which they applied or with a translation into the language that the applicant speaks. Also, conversations with citizens who apply orally were conducted in the language that the applicant spoke, he also received appropriate recommendations and explanations in the language that he spoke.

It should be noted that in previous years, as well as during the reporting period, there were no cases when the applicants did not understand the essence of the answers given to them by the Office of Ombudsman both in writing and orally.

In addition, an analysis was carried out on the issues of oral appeals, the results of which are given in the following table.

As can be seen from the analysis, the main part of oral appeals was related to the housing issue, in particular 51 or 46%. The number of oral appeals about dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers was 10, which was equal to 9% of the total number of appeals; about disagreement with court decisions - 8 or 7.2%; on inheritance issues - 6 or 5.4%; on labour issues - 5 or 4.5%; on migration and banking issues - 4 appeals or 3.6%; on issues related to the right to health protection, education, land law - 3 or 2.7%, on military service and guardianship - custodianship - 1 (0.9%) each, the remaining 12 (10.8%) - on other issues.

Other issues were mainly related to citizens’ dissatisfaction with the actions of heads of institutions or officials, or with debt disputes, family disputes or conflicts with neighbours, gas, water and energy supply of new homes, and assistance in obtaining the necessary documents from organizations and institutions.

When analyzing the predominant issues taking place in the regions, it was found that in the city of Ashgabat, as well as in Balkan and Ahal velayats, these were housing issues.

As a result of the analysis of written and oral appeals of citizens, it was considered appropriate to focus on the issues raised in collective appeals by region. For example, most of the collective appeals came from Ashgabat, in particular, 25 citizens filed 7 appeals, 4 of which concerned housing issues, 2 - disagreement with court rulings and 1 - labour law. From Balkan velayat, in particular, 38 citizens made 3 appeals; 1 concerned housing, 1 – providing residential houses with drinking water. A satisfactory decision was made on these 2 collective appeals. Another one was about checking the legality of the activities of an individual society that created obstacles for them in fishing in the ‘Karshi’ zone of the Caspian Sea. 12 citizens from Dashoguz velayat filed 2 appeals on labour law. In 2 collective appeals from Mary velayat, 4 citizens informed about their disagreement with the decision made regarding the conflict with neighbours. In one appeal from Ahal velayat, 15 citizens indicated that without their knowledge, based on illegal orders of the heads of government authorities, a rice harvest was illegally harvested from a land plot leased by an economic society on the territory of Dashoguz velayat. A satisfactory decision was also made on this appeal.

As noted above, 6 oral collective appeals and 18 applicants for them were registered: from Ashgabat - 6 citizens with 3 appeals on the housing issue; from Ahal velayat - 10 citizens with 2 collective appeals, one of which was about assistance in the issue of energy, water and gas supply of residential buildings, and the second - about family conflict; from Mary velayat - 2 citizens with one appeal on the issue of labour law.

As a result of the analysis of the work carried out by the Ombudsman to consider citizens’ appeals for 2021, in order to reduce citizens’ discontent and repeated appeals, to increase compliance with legal requirements when considering appeals, the following is proposed:

- organize strict monitoring of the handling of complaints in ministries, branch departments, institutions subordinate to them at the proper level and keep it in the manner and within the time limits established by law; monitoring of the main essence of the issues raised in them, regardless of whether they came from the citizens themselves or from the competent authorities;

- eliminate the systematic offenses committed by the city Hyakimlik when considering citizens’ complaints, appeals and proposals on them from competent authorities, including the Ombudsman, to prevent their recurrence, taking into account the fact that the number of written and oral appeals does not decreased in the city of Ashgabat and in the country, and that the number of repeated appeals, mainly related to the housing issue, increased;

- analyze thoroughly and observe the order of priority of citizens standing in line to improve housing conditions in the departments of the etrap (district) hyakimliks of the Department for Accounting, Distribution and Registration of residential buildings of the Hyakimlik of the city of Ashgabat, taking into account incoming appeals about non-compliance with the order of priority in the distribution of housing in the territory of Ashgabat and in order to eliminate such situations;

- in order to reduce the number of appeals on labour issues in the country, in particular, in Balkan velayat, make systematic analyses and monitor the reliability of information of institutions and enterprises on vacancies submitted by the Departments of Labour and Social Security of the population on the ground. 

Chapter V. Activity of the Ombudsman to help improve the national legislation of Turkmenistan

The year ‘Turkmenistan is the Motherland of Peace and Trust’ under the sign of the glorious 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence, was full of historically significant activities to improve the country’s legislation, the system of the legislative body. On 25 February 2021 the esteemed President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, according to the established annual tradition, at a meeting with the parliamentarians of the country, discussed topical issues of legislative activity facing the national parliament, priority areas of legislative work designed to ensure the development of the state in the legal aspect, as well as objectives for the transition of the legislature to a bicameral system.

The issue of establishing a bicameral system of the national parliament was broadly discussed, and on 25 September 2020, the Constitutional Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Amendments and Additions to the Constitution of Turkmenistan’ was approved at a meeting of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan and adopted by the Mejlis of Turkmenistan. For the first time ever in the history of Turkmenistan, on 28 March 2021 elections of members of the Milli Gengesh’ Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan were held, and in April of the same year the first meeting of the Milli Gengesh’ Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan was held. Thus, for the first time in the history of Turkmenistan, the bicameral legislative body, the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, was established.

During the reporting year, the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan adopted 71 laws, including new laws; existing laws were improved in accordance with the requirements of the time; laws on amendments and additions to them were adopted.

The adoption of these laws during the ongoing economic crisis in the world served as a legal guarantee of strengthening the economic power of the country, ensuring the economic, social, and cultural rights of people. In particular, at a time when the fight against COVID-19 is underway all over the world, the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On the Prevention of Infectious Diseases’, ‘On the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases’, aimed at ensuring the legal framework for protecting the health of citizens, have become of great importance. In addition, laws have been adopted regulating relevant issues of the country’s development in the current times, in particular, laws ‘On Renewable Energy Sources’, ‘On Public-Private Partnership’, ‘On Brand Names’, ‘On Trust Management of Public Property’, ‘On Postal Communications’, ‘On Hunting and Protection of Hunting Resources’, "On Social Services’, as well as ‘On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Turkmenistan’ (new version), "On Education" (new version), ‘On Emergency Prevention and Recovery’ (new version), ‘On the State Land Registry’ (new version). Amendments and additions have been made to other existing laws; work has been carried out to enhance the country’s legal framework.

During the year, representatives of the Office of Ombudsman, being members of the working groups established in the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, actively participated in meetings on the development of draft laws.

For example, during the reporting period, the staff of the Office of Ombudsman participated as members of the working group in the drafting of an improved new version of the Penal Code of Turkmenistan. While working on improving the Code, representatives of the Ombudsman put forward their proposals, taking into account the humane principles of our ancestors, and based on our country’s international human rights obligations.

Moreover, the staff of the Office of Ombudsman, being members of working groups on the preparation of new versions of the draft Labour Code of Turkmenistan, the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Notaries and Notarial activities’, submitted relevant proposals on the drafts of the above laws adopted over the past year, based on the requirements of generally accepted norms of international human rights law.

Concurrently, the Ombudsman continued to exercise her powers to assist in improving the human rights legislation of Turkmenistan, taking part in the work carried out by the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan in accordance with the annual plan of legislative activity, as well as in the fora held during the year.

As noted in the relevant chapters of the Report, in order to provide a legal framework for the transformations carried out in various areas, the national legislation was being consistently improved; up-to-date laws were being adopted in the country.

In accordance with the requirements of the law, other regulatory legal acts should also be regularly reviewed and brought in line with the requirements of adopted, that is, existing laws. While carrying out the work over the past year, the Office of Ombudsman faced cases of failure to fully comply with these requirements.

In order to eliminate the situations occurred, in addition to the proposals made by the Ombudsman in 2020 on this issue, the following is proposed:

- the ministries and branch departments (subordinate institutions), local public authorities and local self-government bodies should carry out thorough work to bring regulatory legal acts into full compliance with the norms of current legislation;

- ministries and branch departments (subordinate institutions), local public authorities and local self-government bodies should carry out thorough work on the adoption and state registration in accordance with the established procedure of regulatory legal acts that constitute the legal basis for the organization of work;

- the authorized bodies should strengthen monitoring for bringing regulatory legal acts of ministries and branch departments, public authorities and local self-government bodies into compliance with the current legislation; monitor the adoption of regulatory legal acts governing the activities of these institutions, as well as their compliance with the current legislation and registration in accordance with the established procedure.

 Chapter VI. Participation of the Ombudsman in public events. Promotion of human rights awareness

Last year was one of the historical years for the Turkmen state. The 30th anniversary of independence of the native Motherland was celebrated. Last year was full of public events and events on a significant date, as well as various events dedicated to the results of large-scale positive transformations carried out during the years of independence, events of international significance. The Ombudsman, along with the exercise of her powers, took part in public events held in the country, organized activities during the year to help raise awareness of the population in the field of human rights, stipulated by the approved work plan of the Office of Ombudsman for 2021.

As for her participation in public events, participation of the Ombudsman should be noted primarily in fora held under the leadership of the esteemed President, following the tradition of discussing the issues aimed at the well-being of the people and the prosperity of the country with representatives; and two meetings of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan held during the year under review.

The Ombudsman participated in the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th meetings of the Sixth Convocation of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, held in accordance with the plan of legislative activity of the body.

At the 13th meeting, the Ombudsman, in accordance with the provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, as well as according to the agenda of the meeting, made a report on the work done and on the human rights situation in the country for 2020.

At the same time, the Ombudsman took part in four meetings of the Interdepartmental Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, at which she expressed her opinion on various pertinent issues of the agenda to ensure human rights and freedoms.

In the year of the 30th anniversary of the country’s independence, the Ombudsman and staff took part in other events and activities organized on the occasion of various events.

They included the conferences on 'The Constitution of independent permanently neutral Turkmenistan and the State Flag of Turkmenistan: statehood, legislation and justice', and '30 years of independence of Turkmenistan: the policy of humanism and sustainable development' dedicated to the glorious 30th anniversary of independence of Turkmenistan, the Day of the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the State Flag of Turkmenistan, a forum on the occasion of approval by the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan of the National Action Plan on Human Rights in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025, the international conference on ‘The Policy of Peace and Trust – the basis of international security, stability and development’ in honour of the 26th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan; an International scientific and practical conference dedicated to the glorious 30th anniversary of independence of Turkmenistan and the Science Day celebrated annually on June 12. At some of them, relevant presentations were made.

Representatives of the Office of Ombudsman, being members of the working groups created in the ministries and branch departments of the country, took part in the meetings of the groups, shared their opinions on the issues under consideration, focusing on human rights. The participation in the meetings of the working groups of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan held during the year on the preparation of draft laws, as well as the working group of the Interdepartmental Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the working group on the implementation of the ‘State Programme of Turkmenistan on State Youth policy for 2021-2025’ may serve as an example.

In accordance with the Annual work plan of the Office of Ombudsman, work was systematically carried out to raise public awareness in the field of human rights.

In this context, it should be noted specifically, that in order to ensure the provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ with regard to the coverage of the activities of the Ombudsman, and in accordance with the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan approved on 27 February 2020 ‘On the Creation of an Electronic Document Management System and Internet websites in Turkmenistan, as well as their introduction’, On 16 April last year, the website of the Office of Ombudsman was launched (www.ombudsman.gov.tm ). The website contains information about the activities of the Office of Ombudsman in the field of human rights protection, separate web-pages were dedicated to relevant information on various areas of human rights. Given that one of the priority aspects of the Ombudsman’s activities was the protection of children’s rights, documents on children’s rights and materials on events on this topic were placed in a special section. In addition, an opportunity has been created for readers to familiarize themselves with the norms of international and national legislation regulating human rights.

All the annual reports of the Ombudsman since 2017 - the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman - have been posted on the Ombudsman’s website, They were also published on the ‘Turkmenistan Today’ (www.tdh.gov.tm ) of the State Information Agency of Turkmenistan and the electronic newspaper ‘Golden Age’ (www.turkmenistan.gov.tm ) websites.

Moreover, the Ombudsman and staff of the Office published their statements and presentations for the public, namely, articles about the ongoing work on the democratic development of the Turkmen state, ensuring the protection of human and civil rights and freedoms, events related to the life of the country.

For example, the newspapers ‘Turkmenistan’ and ‘Neutral Turkmenistan’ published the following: an interview with the Ombudsman ‘The Basis of a Perfect Society’ on the goals and significance of the adoption of the ‘National Action Plan for Human Rights in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’; an article ‘Protection of Children’s Rights - the key to a happy future’ on the activities of the Ombudsman in the field of children’s rights, dedicated to the International Children’s Day; article ‘Gender equality in Turkmenistan: on the way to the development of national democracy’.

On the occasion of the International Day for Protection of Children celebrated annually on 1 June, a programme with the participation of the Ombudsman and the Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, Ms. ChristineWeigand, was organized and presented to the audience on the Yashlyk TV channel. During the programme, the work carried out by the Ombudsman and the Children’s Fund to protect and promote children’s rights, the norms of international law and national legislation in this area were highlighted. They also answered other questions of interest.

In addition, representatives of the Office in the programme ‘Society and the Law’ prepared by the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan together with the Altyn Asyr TV channel informed about the facts included in the annual reports of the Ombudsman, viewers were also provided with information about the work carried out by the Office of Ombudsman during the year, about the state of affairs in the country in the field of human rights.

During the reporting year, the staff of the Office of Ombudsman conveyed to readers information related to various areas of human rights by having published dozens of articles in the newspapers ‘Turkmenistan’, ‘Neutral Turkmenistan’, ‘Adalat’, ‘Nesil’.

The Office of Ombudsman, within the framework of a joint work plan with international partners - the UNDP, UNICEF, prepared and published brochures in Turkmen, Russian, and English ‘A few words about the activities of the Ombudsman’ and ‘A procedure of appealing with oral and written complaint to the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan’ In these brochures, the provisions on the main functions of the Ombudsman, the procedure for filing and considering appeals were explained in a concise, clear and accessible form of questions and answers. An electronic version of the brochure format is available on the Ombudsman’s website.

Based on the results of the participation of the Ombudsman in public events during the year, the activities carried out by her to assist in raising public awareness of the transformations in the country in the field of human rights protection, it was concluded that there was a need for systematic work to raise awareness and expand outreach, legal culture of the population, including responsible officials. Hence, the following is proposed:

- in order to coordinate the regular and systematic work on promoting legal awareness and legal culture in the field of human rights among the population and relevant responsible officials, civil servants, based on the previously issued proposals, develop and approve, in the appropriate manner, a Unified State Programme providing for specific measures for implementation by ministries, sectoral departments, velayat, etrap, city hyakimliks, law enforcement agencies, mass media, public organizations.

Chapter VII. International co-operation

In the year ‘Turkmenistan is the Motherland of Peace and Trust’, which was marked by the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the country’s independence, significant work continued to develop international co-operation, following the constructive foreign policy of the esteemed President of Turkmenistan. All these activities were aimed at the implementation of the goals of consolidating common efforts to promote the policy of peace and stability, addressing issues affecting the interests of man and citizen and important not only for our state, but also for the entire region.

Dozens of fora and events were organized in our country to discuss these urgent tasks. In particular, the 15th Summit of the ECO, the third Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States, the Economic Forum of Central Asian States, the Forum - Dialogue of Women of Central Asia, the International Conference on ‘The Policy of Peace and Trust - the basis of International Security, Stability and Development’, dedicated to the 26th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality, and other events were held during the year. One of the significant events of the year was the participation of Turkmenistan in the Summit of the Organization of Turkic States and the accession of our country to it as an observer.

As known, Turkmenistan is a member of dozens of UN agencies. In April last year, Turkmenistan was elected to the Executive Board of the UN agency on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) for 2022-2024. This is a worthy assessment of our country’s policy in the field of gender equality.

During the period under review, Turkmenistan continued its effective activities to strengthen the role and authority of the United Nations and other leading multilateral institutions. For example, Turkmenistan initiated proposals on various issues and the adoption in 2021 by the United Nations General Assembly of Resolutions ‘The Role and Significance of the Policy of Neutrality in maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and the process of sustainable development’, ‘The Role of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia’, ‘Co-operation between the UN and the ECO’, ‘Strengthening links between multimodal transport to ensure stable and reliable international transport for sustainable development during and after the COVID-19 pandemic’.

The functions defined by the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, arising from the right of the Ombudsman to promote international co-operation in the field of human rights, were carried out taking into account the activities provided for in a separate chapter of the Annual work plan of the Office of Ombudsman.

In accordance with the Plan, in the reporting year, the Ombudsman systematically organized joint events for the exchange of experience with international and interstate organizations, national human rights institutions of foreign states.

In this context, the chapter will focus on the information covering the work of the Ombudsman during the reporting year, carried out to promote international human rights co-operation, as one of her functions, including events and meetings.

The activities with the participation of the Ombudsman during the year, included meetings of the national Steering Committee, established for the implementation of the ‘Sustainable Development Co-operation Framework between Turkmenistan and the United Nations (UNSDCF) for 2021-2025’, organized by the UN RCO in Turkmenistan. This series also included a forum to discuss the outcomes achieved in 2021 within the Framework and to identify areas of co-operation for 2022.

Over the past year, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan has actively participated in international events and workshops on gender equality, including those related to women’s rights. One of them was the Forum successfully held last year in our country - the Central Asian Dialogue of Women. The Dialogue definitely acted as an effective platform for discussing issues such as the implementation of gender policy and strengthening the role of women in Central Asian countries.

Among the significant events with the participation of the Ombudsman was the 13th round of the Turkmenistan - EU Human Rights Dialogue, during which relevant human rights and international humanitarian law issues were discussed, and an exchange of views between delegations on this topic took place. The activities of the Office of Ombudsman and prospects for expanding co-operation between independent organizations of the EU were also discussed.

Referring to the events dedicated to co-operation with the EU, including partnership in the field of human rights, it should be noted that last December in her Office, the Ombudsman held a bilateral meeting with the Special Representative for Central Asia of the EU, Ms. Terhi Hakala and Political Adviser Ms. Alina Belskaya, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the EU Mr. Diego Ruiz. During the meeting, the guests were familiarized with the activities of the Ombudsman’s, exchanged views on human rights as one of the relevant issues of our time, and also discussed the possibilities of increasing bilateral co-operation.

Meeting of the Ombudsman with EU representatives

In June last year, the 4th meeting of Heads of specialized anti-corruption organizations and Ombudsmen of the ECO Member States was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in a mixed format. It was attended by the Heads of anti-corruption structures and Ombudsmen of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. The meeting was also attended by the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, who noted in her speech that great importance was attached to the fight against corruption in our country, measures were being taken to implement anti-corruption policy; national legislation in this area was being consistently improved, and programmes and plans adopted at the state level were being effectively implemented. Special emphasis was placed on the important role assigned to international co-operation in this area.

An international conference on ‘Prospects for the Development of a National Preventive Mechanism in Uzbekistan based on international standards’ organized by the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman) together with the National Centre for Human Rights of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan and the UNHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia was also held. The forum was attended by representatives of international organizations, Ombudsmen of the Russian Federation, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Serbia, Central Asian countries, including the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan. The purpose of the event was to exchange national and international experience in countering ill-treatment or attempts to humiliate human dignity. The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan spoke at the forum and shared her experience in monitoring the execution of penal measures in the country and the activities of institutions executing penal measures.

The bilateral meetings, workshops, seminars and fora held over the past year were mainly carried out in online format. Despite this, all the activities stipulated by the work plan of the Ombudsman, including those organized jointly with national and international partners, were carried out at a qualitative level. The Ombudsman also took part in these meetings and spoke on issues on the agenda.

Among the main ones were the activities carried out within the framework of the project ‘Increasing the Institutional Capacity of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan’, signed between the Office of the Ombudsman and the UNDP in Turkmenistan for 2021-2022.

In February last year, a regular online forum of this Project Board was held, at which an overview of the implementation of the planned activities within the project was given and issues of upcoming events were discussed. The subject of the discussion was the study of the issue of accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions in the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), world experience in this field, as well as long-term tasks of the Ombudsman in this direction. Similar online fora were also held in partnership with the UNHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia and with the participation of experts from the Asia-Pacific Forum of NHRIs. The Ombudsman and representatives of the staff took part in fora and meetings dedicated to this relevant topic. In addition, within the framework of the objectives stipulated by the project, the following seminars were held: ‘Assessment of the activities of NHRIs on Human Rights and Familiarization with International Experience on their reporting’, ‘National and International Mechanisms for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Turkmenistan’, ‘Activities of the Ombudsman in ensuring women’s rights in Turkmenistan’, ‘International Practice and Norms of Interaction of NHRIs with Law Enforcement Agencies, Bar Associations and International HRIs’, ‘International Practice and Norms of Interaction of NHRIs with the Judicial System’. An interested exchange of views on issues on the agenda took place during these fora, which were held with the participation of the Ombudsman and staff, representatives of central national bodies, regional institutions and international experts.

Seminar on ‘International Practice and Norms of Interaction of NHRIs with Law Enforcement Agencies, Bar Associations and International HRIs’

One of the main activities of the Ombudsman over the past year, carried out jointly with international partners, was the protection of human rights. In the first half of last year, the Ombudsman met with the Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, Ms. Christine Weigand. During the meeting, where representatives of the Office of Ombudsman and UNICEF participated, measures were identified for the future, taking into account the objectives stipulated by the annual work plan, issues of improving the juvenile justice system and preparing an Alternative report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the observance of children’s rights in our country were discussed.


Meeting with the Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, Ms. Christine Weigand.

At the same time, the main goals were defined as the implementation of the work plan for 2021, signed between the Office of the Ombudsman and the UNICEF, including familiarization with the rules for preparing and submitting an Alternative report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children and its Optional Protocols to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Meetings and seminars on this topic were held with the participation of international expert Svetlana Klochko. These issues have been thoroughly studied by the Ombudsman and staff and an initial draft of an Alternative Report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children and its Optional Protocols has been prepared.

In accordance with the best international experience, working meetings were held with the participation of representatives of public associations, in particular, the public associations ‘Yenme’, ‘Keýik Okara’, the Centre for the Support of the People with Disabilities of Turkmenistan, the Physical Culture and Sports Club under the Centre for the People with Disabilities, Societies of the Blind and Deaf, the Central Council of the Union of Women and the Central Council of the Magtymguly Youth Organization. Moreover, in accordance with the Annual work plan, joint activities aimed at protecting the rights of children, including children with disabilities, and raising awareness of the population and children about children’s rights were carried out on a regular basis during the period under review.

The following events held with the participation of the heads of partner organizations can be an example of this.

Last year, on 26 May a joint-interview programme was organized on the Yashlyk TV channel of the Turkmen television with the participation of the Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, Ms.Christine Weigand, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and children. During the programme dedicated to the International Day for Protection of Children, such topics as children’s rights, the mandate of the UN Children’s Fund, the establishment of the Ombudsman institution, its functions, the work carried out in the field of protection of children’s rights were highlighted.


A TV programme dedicated to the International Day for Protection of Children.

This helped to raise awareness of the issues addressed during the programme, not only to the children who took part in it, but also to the audience, including children and their parents. At the same time, on the occasion of the adoption of the ‘National Action Plan for Human Rights in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’, the newspapers ‘Turkmenistan’ and ‘Neutral Turkmenistan’ published an interview with the Ombudsman and the Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan on ‘The Foundation of a Perfect Society’ about the objectives of the Plan and their significance.

In accordance with the Annual work plan of the Ombudsman, within the framework of monitoring the observance of children’s rights in schools, pre-schools and orphanages, in June last year, the Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, Ms.Christine Weigand, and the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan jointly visited the Rehabilitation Educational Complex of the Ahal velayat. During the visit, meetings were held with the pupils of the complex; they acquainted with the conditions created for children, had conversations with managers, teachers, educators and other employees; their questions were studied. The available opportunities for the restoration of the health of the pupils and their education were offered following the visit.

Joint visit to the Rehabilitation Educational complex of the Ahal velayat.

Since the establishment of the Ombudsman’s institution, constructive co-operation has been established with the UNICEF in Turkmenistan to ensure the rights of children. This interaction was effectively carried out within the framework of the bilateral annual work plans. In order to further develop co-operation, in December last year, on the sidelines of the International Conference ‘The Policy of Peace and Trust - the basis of international security, stability and development’, dedicated to the 26th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality, a signing ceremony of the Work plan for 2022 was held between the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the UNICEF in Turkmenistan. The plan, that covered the important objectives similar to those in previous years, had become the basis for increasing co-operation in ensuring a prosperous life for children and respect for their rights.

In the reporting year, dozens of events aimed at countering the acute coronavirus infection COVID-19, which is currently a global threat, were organized jointly with international partners, mainly with the UN RCO in Turkmenistan, relevant ministries and other institutions. They included working group meetings set up to reduce the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 that has spread all over the world, presentation of the Programme on ‘Raising awareness and involving youth to mitigate multidimensional risks and threats associated with the global pandemic’, creation of the Steering Committee of this Programme and the first meeting of the Committee members, their meetings during the year, online workshops within the framework of the implementation of the ‘Immediate Socio-Economic Response Plan to acute infectious disease pandemic in Turkmenistan’ - SERP. The Ombudsman and staff took part in the fora devoted to the pressing challenge of our time.

Last year there were fora organized jointly with the Office of the UNODC in Turkmenistan, the Project ‘Safe Migration in Central Asia’ of the USAID. In particular, webinars dedicated to the best international practices of preventing human trafficking in the business environment and the implementation of human rights policy in business, and the role of national human rights institutions were held. The Ombudsman and representatives of the Office attended them.

The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan Matthew S. Klimov, International Programme Coordinator of the UNODC Koen Marquering, Head of the USAID project ‘Safe Migration in Central Asia’ Eleanor Valentine participated in the forum, and the latter made welcoming remarks. The forum were attended by representatives of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, relevant ministries and sectoral departments, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

Issues related to the international practice of countering human trafficking in the private sector, prevention of negative impact on human rights as a result of complaints through independent mechanisms, etc. were discussed at the fora.

During the period of 2-14 July of the reporting year, the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, together with the UNODC, the USAID project ‘Safe Migration in Central Asia’, within the framework of the sub-programme ‘Criminal Justice, Prevention of Crime and Corruption’, held seminars on combating human trafficking and the importance of respect for labour rights. Not only participants from Ashgabat, but also from Human Rights Resource Centres in the Balkan, Mary, Lebap and Dashoguz velayats attended the online seminars.

The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, the head of the USAID project ‘Safe Migration in Central Asia’ Eleanor Valentine and the USAID representative in Turkmenistan Nino Nadiradze, who addressed the participants with a welcoming speech, attended the events. The forum, which was attended by representatives of relevant ministries, sectoral departments, public organizations of Turkmenistan, discussed the importance of the norms of international and national labour law and their observance; the reform of labour legislation of Turkmenistan aimed at achieving the SDG 8 ‘Promoting progressive, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’, and promoting a responsible approach to work to increase exports in agriculture, etc.

The forum was a good opportunity for participants to familiarize themselves with the current goals of the country to increase the volume of exports of the national economy, national and international legal foundations for the implementation of these tasks, international practice in this direction.

In addition to the above, representatives of the Office of Ombudsman actively participated in various relevant events.

The OSCE Centre in Asgabat, with the participation of representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan, and public organizations, held a seminar on gender issues in the Eurasian region. The forum heard the OSCE report on gender indicators during the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed the impact of the division of women on gender equality in the Eurasian region, measures to support experts to women during the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic period.

Last July, within the framework of the joint work plan for 2021 of the Mejlis Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan and the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, a workshop on the review and analysis of the legislation of Turkmenistan in the field of protection of children’s rights was held. It was attended by UNICEF international and national experts, representatives of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Institute of State, Law and Democracy, the Office of the Ombudsman. During the forum, UNICEF international experts exchanged best international practices on reforming the juvenile justice system. The meeting was a good opportunity to strengthen co-operation in this area.

Within the framework of this work plan, work has been organized to increase knowledge and awareness on children’s rights.

In the summer of 2021, representatives of the Office of Ombudsman, deputies of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, and representatives of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan organized classes for children vacationing in children’s health centres and recreation centres ‘Ýaşlyk’, ‘Nebitçi’, ‘Çynar’, ‘Beýik Serdaryn ruhubelent nesilleri’ and the centre named after Muhammetmyrat Nyýazow, located in the Geokdere Gorge in the outskirts of Ashgabat.

As part of the classes, the children were acquainted with international documents and national legislation on the rights of children, including children with disabilities. These events have become a good opportunity for the active participation of children in the preparation of an Alternative Report on the implementation of children’s rights in our country, exchange of opinions and views on this issue. In this regard, a discussion was held in the form of questions and answers on ensuring equal rights and justice in relation to the protection of children’s health, education, safe life, culture and their behaviour.

In September, representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan participated as observers in interactive online sessions held within the framework of the 26th Annual General Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum of NHRIs, and the UN Working Group on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Forum of NHRIs on Human Rights of the Asia-Pacific region. Within the framework of the forum, the UNHCHR Office presented a report on national authorities and measures taken in the humanitarian area, the promotion of gender equality.


Human Rights Forum of National Human Rights Institutions of the Asia-Pacific Region

On the second day of the event, issues of women’ and girls’ rights, reproductive health during the crisis were discussed. The Authorized Representatives for Human Rights of different countries (Ombudsmen) discussed various methods of interaction in this direction, shared the results of analyses and proposals for promoting the rights of women and girls, and considered other areas of interest to all and opportunities for future partnership.

In October 2021, representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan took part in an online working meeting of the Interagency Advisory Commission on the Implementation of Justice for Children. The event was organized by the UNICEF in Turkmenistan in the second half of 2021 as part of the implementation of the joint action plan of the Interdepartmental Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law obligations and the UN Mission in Turkmenistan. International experts Joshua Dankoff, Guy Thompstone, Renate Winter, Ursina Weidkuhn, and a national UNICEF consultant attended the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to review compliance with international standards of the juvenile justice system and legislation on the protection of children’s rights of Turkmenistan and discuss issues related to them.

In last October, a webinar was held on monitoring the implementation of the ‘National Human Rights Action Plan in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and submitting a corresponding report on it. The seminar was attended by David Jones, an international expert on monitoring and reporting in the field of human rights, as well as representatives of organizations that were part of the Interdepartmental Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, including the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan.

The forum participants stressed that the development of the monitoring and reporting system in the implementation of the ‘National Human Rights Action Plan in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ was designed to facilitate the implementation of our country’s international obligations in the field of human rights and the practical implementation of the recommendations of the UN bodies.

In December last year, an online seminar on ‘Support in developing the capacity of the Office of Ombudsman’ was organized for the staff of the Office of Ombudsman, at which the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, Ambassador John McGregor, made welcoming remarks. The event was held with the participation of international experts from the Croatian and Irish Republics, as well as the OSCE/ODIHR in Warsaw. They introduced the best practices of their countries’ national human rights institutions, put forward their recommendations in the creation and work of the Expert council, on the publication of annual reports. The purpose of the seminar was to increase the capacity of the Office of Ombudsman as an authorized body for human rights and to expand opportunities for interaction with public authorities, the judicial system, and civil society.

Last December, a working meeting was held with representatives of five joint working results groups on indicators of the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework between Turkmenistan and the United Nations. Heads and specialists of relevant ministries and sectoral departments, heads and representatives of specialized UN agencies in Ashgabat attended it. The participants of the event got acquainted with the reviews of the main achievements in the implementation of the Cooperation Framework, in particular, on such five indicators as the human dimension, economics and finance, environment and disaster risk reduction, health and social protection, education, presented by the heads of five results groups.

Among the significant activities carried out in the reporting year, the meetings of the Interdepartmental Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law should be mentioned. 4 meetings were held during the year - one held in March, was a joint meeting with the participation of heads of international organizations and regional bodies located in the country. According to the established tradition in recent years, an overview of the work carried out in co-operation with international partners was presented at the meeting, and an exchange of views took place on identifying specific tasks for the future. The meeting also adopted the work plan of the Interdepartmental Commission for 2021, the year held under the motto ‘Turkmenistan is the Motherland of Peace and Trust’. The Ombudsman also participated in the meetings of the Interdepartmental Commission and talked on issues included in the agenda, voiced her opinion and suggestions.

In addition to the above, representatives of the Office of Ombudsman took part in 3 meetings of the CIS Executive Committee to discuss the draft Regulations of the Commission on Human Rights of the CIS and shared their opinions on the draft.

As can be seen from the above, during the reporting period, the activities of the Office of Ombudsman to promote the development of international relations covered broad and multilateral co-operation with international organizations and national human rights bodies. This in turn contributed to the exchange of practice and exposure to experience of the staff of the Office on the issues of protection of human, civil rights, and freedoms.

The Office of Ombudsman will continue to make every effort to further develop broad international co-operation in achieving common goals in the field of human rights.

Significant work was carried out last year, confirming our country's commitment to international obligations in the field of human rights. In order to help ensure the international human rights obligations of our country in the future, the following is proposed:

- continue studying the proposals of the UN treaty bodies and, based on its results, identify specific tasks, take the necessary measures to implement them;

- carry out appropriate work on the issues of inviting UN special rapporteurs in certain areas of human rights to the country.

 Chapter VIII. Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman

In accordance with the powers provided for in Article 18 and the main functions defined in Article 19 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, one of the priority tasks of the Ombudsman is to consider complaints from citizens of Turkmenistan, regardless of their residence in or outside Turkmenistan, as well as foreign citizens and stateless persons residing in Turkmenistan. The above-mentioned Law sets out in detail the provisions on the circumstances under which a citizen has the right to apply to the Ombudsman, the timing, procedure and form of filing appeals, as well as the rights and obligations of the Ombudsman to assist in the restoration of violated human and civil rights and freedoms.

This chapter of the Report will focus on requests for assistance in verifying complaints sent by the Ombudsman to the competent authorities based on Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, and recommendations sent by the Ombudsman based on Article 30 of the same Law. The emphasis will be placed on recommendations issued by the Ombudsman to the relevant authorities on other issues not related to citizens’ appeals.

These articles, namely Article 27 stipulate that, having accepted a complaint for proceedings, the Ombudsman have the right to apply for assistance in its verification to the competent state bodies, local self-government bodies and officials. The results of the inspection and the measures taken to identify violations of the applicant’s rights must be reported to the Ombudsman within the time limit set by him. Article 30 of the Law states that when the fact of violation of human and civil rights and freedoms is established, the Ombudsman sends his recommendation to the enterprise, institution, organization or officials, containing proposals for taking the necessary measures for the immediate restoration of violated human rights and freedoms; consider it within a month and report in writing on the measures taken.

During the period under review, as already mentioned in the Chapter on the analysis of complaints, the Ombudsman sent 65 appeals and 5 recommendations; 4 complaints were sent by affiliation. It should be noted that according to the results of the audits carried out on them, some of them were satisfied.

During the audits, shortcomings were identified related to the violation of the implementation of citizens’ rights to housing guaranteed by the Constitution, the Housing Code and other regulatory legal acts of Turkmenistan, which caused citizens to apply to various organizations, including the Ombudsman.

For example, an appeal from a resident of the city of Ashgabat, P.S., was accepted for proceedings to assist in restoring the rights of a child, in particular, a minor M.A., who was under her care and for whom, based on a court decision, the housing of his late father was assigned. Despite this, outsiders still lived in the house, and the competent authorities did not take legal measures. A recommendation was sent to the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat based on Article 30 of the Law. The response stated that the citizen’s appeal was satisfied, the Hyakim of the Berkararlyk etrap decided to move M.A to another housing at a specific address and the issue of issuing a certificate for this apartment was being considered.

It should be noted that the case did not solely concerned restoring the rights of a citizen to housing, but the rights to housing of a minor under guardianship due to the death of his parents, which was provided for by legislation, including the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Guarantees of the Rights of the Child’.

In carrying out her activities, the Ombudsman focused on issues of ensuring control over the observance of the rights of persons and children with disabilities, since there were facts of omission by responsible employees of local authorities of the issues of ensuring the rights of this group of people.

For example, an appeal was accepted for proceedings from a resident of the Dashoguz velayat, Ý.P., who applied to local authorities with a request to establish a telephone land line in the house, since his child had a Group I disability. As his appeals remained unaddressed, he asked for assistance in this matter. Referring to Article 27 of the Law, the appeal was re-directed to the hyakimlik of the Dashoguz velayat. The response stated that the Ombudsman’s inquiry was considered and a telephone landline was installed in the applicant’s house, a telephone number was assigned to his name. This fact also suggests that such issues can be resolved at the level of local authorities on the ground.

Unfortunately, there were facts of offenses committed by officials misusing their official powers.

Thus, a collective complaint was accepted for proceedings, written by members of the Y.A. Economic Society, with a request to take legal measures against officials of public authorities. The hyakimlik of Saparmurat Turkmenbashy etrap (district) of Dashoguz velayat and the ‘Tüwi/Rice’ production enterprise, issued instructions, and without the permission of the members of the Y.A. Economic Society, the a rice crop planted on a plot of land leased by them for a period of 99 years was harvested and handed over to the state. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan conducted an audit on the basis of the Ombudsman’s request sent in accordance with Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, during which the following was established. The Director of the production enterprise ‘Tüwi/Rice’, located in the S.Turkmenbashy etrap, together with an official and a civil servant, the Hyakim of this etrap, indicating that they were allegedly fulfilling the state plan for harvesting rice, decided it illegal to grow rice on land plots allocated to ES ‘Y.A’. Without informing the management of the Economic Society, they gave their employees an illegal instruction to harvest the rice crop and hand it over as the state order. During the period of 9-19 October 2021, on an area of 257.53 hectares sown with rice by the above-mentioned Society, an unripe rice was harvested with the help of state-owned combines "Claass’ and ‘John Deere’. The handover of the rice harvest was organized with violation, i.e. it did not pass preliminary laboratory testing in accordance with the established procedure. In order to legitimize the actions committed, the Hyakim of etrap retroactively issued an Order No. 59 of 1 October 2021 on the establishment of a Commission and carrying out appropriate work to harvest the rice in excess of the state order.

Given the statement of the Society members addressed to the prosecutor of Dashoguz velayat dated 26 November 2021 on withdrawing the complaint due to the full return of the harvest illegally harvested from the Economic Society ‘Y.A’ land; reference letter of the Economic Society No. 87 dated 2 December 2021 about the contract concluded with the maintenance company for the amount of 126.867.85 manats for harvesting; certificate No. 85 on the contract concluded for the guaranteed payment of 16.713.94 manats for the transportation of the crop, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Dashoguz velayat, based on Article 73 of the Penaal Code of Turkmenistan on 2 December 2021, refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the Hyakim of the S.Turkmenbashi etrap and the Director of the production enterprise ‘Tüwi/Rice’ of Production Association ‘Daşoguzgallaönümleri/DashoguzGrainProduce’ in the S.Turkmenbashi etrap (district). A written response was sent to the applicants as a result of the audit.

In the corresponding chapter of the Report devoted to the analysis of citizens’ appeals, the facts of collective appeals of citizens were noted. The compilation of collective appeals and the confirmation of the facts indicated in them was an example of a violation of the right of not only one person, but a number of citizens.

The appeal of residents of private residential buildings on Mollanepes street, Kenar etrap (district) in Turkmenbashy, Balkan velayat, that in response to their letters about the irregular drinking water supply during the summer period, the relevant authorities, in particular, the City Hyakimlik, give false information, according to which the water supply was allegedly carried out at a certain time in the morning and evening, was accepted for proceedings. Based on Article 27 of the Law, it was sent to the Hyakimlik of the Balkan velayat. In their response, the Hyakimlik reported that the Department ‘Türkmenbaşyagyzsuw/ TurkmenbashyDrinkingWater’ carried out appropriate repair works at the citizens’ residence and the latter were supplied with drinking water. Accordingly, this response was referred to the applicants.

When analyzing complaints, it was revealed that citizens also included various other issues in them, the superficial consideration of which on the ground led to violations of both citizens’ rights and their legitimate interests.

For example, the Office of Ombudsman registered an appeal from a resident of the Lebap velayat S.A. for assistance in obtaining an international payment card of an individual in the name of his daughter, which, based on Article 27 of the Law was re-sent to the Central Bank of Turkmenistan with a request for fact checking. In response, it was informed that the card was handed to S.A.’s daughter and the appeal was fully satisfied. An appropriate response has been sent to the applicant.

There were appeals about the difficulties created on the ground by judicial authorities in the execution of court decisions, on which appropriate conclusions were drawn.

For example, a complaint from a resident of the Lebap velayat H.R. about dissatisfaction with the non-execution by bailiffs of the decision made by the Kerki Etrap Court on the housing issue; and it was sent by affiliation to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan with a request to assist in addressing this matter. As a result of the work carried out on enforcement proceedings, a response was received. It stated, that due to the failure of a citizen to comply with a court decision on voluntary eviction from an apartment, based on Article 46 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Enforcement Proceedings and the Legal Status of Bailiffs’, forced eviction measures were applied to him and with the participation of the commission members the citizen was evicted from the apartment in question. An appropriate act was drawn up in this regard and a response has been sent to the applicant.

One more point should be pointed out hencewith. During checking information from citizens’ appeals sent to the Office of Ombudsman about violations of their rights, the facts indicated by them were not confirmed, but other offenses committed by officials or responsible persons were revealed.

For instance, the Office of Ombudsman registered the appeal of a resident of the Balkan velayat V.K. about the violation of her consumer rights. In order to assist in the fact checking, the appeal, referring to Article 27 of the Law, was sent to the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations of Turkmenistan. In its response the Ministry, following the results of an audit, reported that the Ministry’s State Trade Oversight Service, according to the information indicated in the appeal, checked compliance with the retail trade rules in the Store No. 26 of the State Wholesale and Retail Trading Company ‘Balkan’, located in the complex of residential building No. 189 of the city of Balkanabat of the Balkan velayat. As a result, a violation of the retail trade rules was revealed and the seller of the S.H. store was brought to administrative responsibility in accordance with part 1 of Article 312 of the Code of Turkmenistan on Administrative Offenses. The Head of the company was instructed to keep compliance with the rules of trade and provision of services, provision of food products and cultural services to clients in subordinate stores under constant monitoring. It was reported that the information indicated in the citizen’s appeal regarding the crude refusal of responsible employees to sell food products along with the forced sale of other types of food that were not needed were not confirmed. An appropriate response was sent to the applicant about the results of the audit.

Unfortunately, there have been cases when, when sending citizens’ appeals on labour issues, mainly about employment, to the competent authorities, during the subsequent meetings held with them, the people refused the offered jobs, motivating their refusal by the desire to work only in specific organizations and engage in certain activity.

An example of this was the complaints of a resident of the Balkan velayat T.G., which stated that having two minor children dependent on her, she did not have a work, Her appeals on the issue of employment to the Department of Labour and Employment of the population at her place of residence remained unaddressed due to the lack of available jobs. These complaints were registered by the Office of Ombudsman and the very first appeal written by T.G, was sent to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the Population of Turkmenistan on the basis of article 27 of the Law. In response, it was reported that during the consideration of her complaint, the citizen during the meeting was familiarized with the vacancies on enterprises, organizations and institutions. However, despite the positions offered for her choice: a controller at the checkpoint of the Security Service of the Gyyanly Polymer Plant of the ‘TurkmenChemistry’ State Concern, located on the territory of the etrap at her place of residence or a cleaner in the Repair Unit of Construction Department, the citizen refused the offered vacancies, stating her desire to get a job as a junior service personnel solely in educational institutions in the Akdash village. The appeal she had re-written on this issue was registered and, in order to assist a single mother with two dependent children, was sent to the Hyakimlik of Balkan velayat based on Article 27 of the Law. In its response, the Hyakimlik reported that at a meeting held with a citizen she again refused the vacancies offered to her: a seller of the Union of Consumers of Gyzylgaya etrap of Turkmenbashy and an employee of the Economic Society ‘Senagat Plastik’, and again asked get her a job in the kindergarten of the Akdash. Consequently, she received an answer explaining that she had the right to apply to the Department of Labour and Employment of the Population at the place of residence and ask about the availability of vacancies in educational institutions.

At the same time, 3 appeals pending from last year were satisfied in the beginning of the year.

For example, in 2020, an appeal was registered by a resident of the city of Ashgabat, N.N., a former serviceman of military units of the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan. The appeal stated that, sent at that time by N.N. to the Hyakimlik of the Abadan etrap, Ahal velayat, with a request to local executive authorities to provide him and his family with permanent housing after his dismissal from work, was not being considered. Based on Article 27 of the Law, the appeal was sent to the Hyakimlik of the city of Ashgabat. In the written notification, it was reported that citizen N.N. was included in the waiting list in the Hyakimlik of the Abadan etrap as a person in need of improving housing conditions. A response was sent to the applicant about the results of the fact checking.

An appeal from a resident of Ashgabat, M.J. was registered in 2020. It concerned the illegal seizure of a land plot on the territory of the Serdar etrap, Balkan velayat, leased by him based on a signed contract, and its transfer to another citizen. The appeal was sent to the Hyakimlik of Balkan velayat based on Article 27 of the Law. During the verification, it was revealed that the head of the Dayhan (Farmers’) Association violated the norms of legislation regulating land relations in Turkmenistan in relation to the applicant. A written notification was received about the solution of the citizen’s land issue on the ground and that he did not have further claims. A response about the results of the verification was sent to the applicant.

At the end of 2020, an appeal was registered by residents of the Dayhan (Farmers’) Association ‘Hakykat’ of the Yolotan etrap, Mary velayat about irregular electricity supply at their place of residence. Based on Article 27 of the Law, the appeal was sent to the Hyakimlik of Mary velayat. In its response, the Hyakimlik informed about the prepared design and estimate documentation for laying a power transmission line at the place of residence of the people, and the relevant works planned in the nearest period in accordance with the ‘Programme of the President of Turkmenistan for Socio-Economic Development of the country for 2019-2025’. Referring to this letter, an interim response was sent to the citizens, which informed that these issues would be under the control of the Office of Ombudsman until they were fully resolved. This appeal was pending, and a letter from the Hyakimlik of Mary velayat of 9 February 2021, informed about the repair of the power transmission line and poles, the arrangement of electricity supply, and a meeting held with residents. During the meeting, it was confirmed, that they had electricity and that this issue would remain under control until its full resolution. The applicants were given a written response about the above.

Besides, the Ombudsman, within the limits of her competence, based on Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, sent recommendations to the relevant bodies that allowed violations of the terms of consideration of complaints.

For example, in the Ombudsman’s recommendation sent to the Hyakim (Mayor) of Ashgabat, it was noted that a number of requests for assistance in fact checking, which were given in complaints were accepted for proceedings by the Office of Ombudsman. They were sent for consideration by the city Hyakimlik based on Article 27 of the Law, however, despite the deadlines specified in them, were not timely considered and remained unanswered. In addition, emphasis was placed on Article 7 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Local Executive Authorities’, which stated that the Hyakims, within their powers, along with the organization and control over the activities of the Hyakimlik, consider citizens’ appeals. In the case of sending interim responses to appeals, the solution of which requires a certain time, the Hyakims have the right to give oral instructions to the responsible employees of the Hyakimlik, which would serve as a basis for extending the terms of consideration of appeals. However, the improper performance of official duties by responsible employees and the weakening of control by the Hyakim on this issue caused these persons to violate the deadlines established by law for considering citizens’ appeals and led to their repeated appeals.

In its response to the mentioned recommendation, the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat informed that most of the complaints received from citizens related to housing issues and were being considered by the Public Working Commission of the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat on Housing. The letter informed that Special Working Commissions operating additionally based on Order No. 390 of 14.03.2019 of the city of Ashgabat in the city and etrap (district) hyakimliks of Ashgabat received citizens on various issues three times a month. At the same time, it was indicated that at the meeting held on 29 March 2021 in the Hyakimlik of Ashgabat with the participation of relevant managers, employees of institutions and enterprises, representatives of the Ashgabat City Court, strict instructions were issued to analyze complaints and appeals of citizens and provide timely responses.

Despite this, given the fact that such situations repeated regularly throughout the year and referring to Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, on 28 December 2021, a recommendation on the same issue was repeatedly sent to the Hyakimlik of the city of Ashgabat. In stated, in particular, about disciplinary responsibility for the relevant responsible employees, in order to eliminate violations of the terms of consideration of citizens’ complaints.

There were also situations related to the referral of the Ombudsman’s recommendations to the relevant authorities on the basis of Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, in order to eliminate gaps and offenses identified as a result of inspections on certain issues conducted according to the Annual plan. Two inspections were sent to the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, and the other two were sent to the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan.

These inspections were carried out in a Residential Home for People with Disabilities and Elderly, an Orphanage, the Auxiliary school and School No 50 of Ashgabat, subordinate to the Departments of Health and Education of the city of Ashgabat of the above-mentioned ministries. Recommendations were sent on the identified shortcomings for each organization separately.

In their respective responses, the ministries informed that these recommendations were analyzed, the shortcomings indicated in them were discussed with employees of institutions and some work was done to eliminate them and prevent them in the future.

These inspections were mentioned in the Chapter of the report on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

In addition, the relevant Chapter of the report focused on the work carried out by the Ombudsman during the year to assist in the development of international co-operation in the field of human rights.

In this regard, the Ombudsman, within the limits of her powers on the territory of Turkmenistan, has carried out certain work on appeals received from Authorized Representatives for Human Rights of other countries. Almost all of the issues raised in these appeals were related to the work on the protection of the rights to social security of persons who were citizens of the countries where they currently resided. The appeals contained requests for assistance in connection with retirement in obtaining relevant documents from the organizations in which they worked during their residence in Turkmenistan. All the Ombudsman’s appeals on these issues sent to the relevant organizations were satisfied and the necessary archival certificates were sent to the applicants.

Chapter IХ. Conclusions 

The report of the Ombudsman - the Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan on the work done in 2021 and the state of affairs in the country in the field of human rights, is the fifth since the establishment of this institution. As in previous reports, it highlighted the activities carried out within the framework of the ‘Work Plan of the Office of Ombudsman for 2021’ approved in accordance with the mandate, in order to fulfill the goals stipulated by the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’. In the report, the annual planned work has been covered in 6 chapters. They mainly concerned the provision of civil, human, political, economic, social and cultural rights; raising awareness and advocacy in the field of human rights; the development of international co-operation in the field of human rights, assistance in improving national legislation and civil society activities aimed at protecting human rights, improving the activities of the Office of Ombudsman.

The report, as the name implies, also provided an overview of the situation with human rights in the country.

The report broadly covered the large-scale activities carried out in the country to ensure civil, human, political, economic, social and cultural rights, strict observance of these rights. The work of the Ombudsman in this direction was strengthened by specific examples. These facts allow to get acquainted with the results of inspections carried out on appeals, violations identified as a result of them, and also confirmed the restoration of citizens’ rights, taking measures against responsible officials. The main activities of the Ombudsman were presented in the relevant chapters of the report, in particular, assistance in the development of international co-operation in the field of human rights, raising awareness and advocacy, as well as improving human rights legislation. It should be emphasized that as in previous years, at the end of each chapter the Ombudsman’s proposals were offered, based on the results of the work carried out, to improve the work and strengthen control in the relevant areas.

The final chapter expresses confidence that responsible officials of public authorities and local self-government bodies will be acquainted with the report of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan on the results of 2021; taking into account the work carried out and comments on ensuring and observing human and civil rights and freedoms, they will further assist, within their powers, in ensuring human rights.

In turn, the Ombudsman assures that, within the limits of the powers provided for by the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, together with the staff of the Office, she will carry out work aimed at strict observance of human rights, comprehensively improving the work of this independent body.

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