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Report of the Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan - the Ombudsman on the activities and the human rights situation in the country in 2022
Report of the Ombudsman
Report of the Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan - the Ombudsman on the activities and the human rights situation in the country in 2022
Published 03.07.2023
3229

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.

Review of handling citizens’ appeals 

Chapter V.

Work of the Ombudsman to assist in improving the national legislation of Turkmenistan

Chapter VI.

 

Participation of the Ombudsman in public events. Assistance in raising awareness in the field of human rights

Chapter VII.

International co-operation

Chapter VIII.

Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman 

Chapter IX.

Conclusion

INTRODUCTION

Every year is marked by historical events in our Motherland Turkmenistan. The year 2022, which was held under the motto ‘The Era of People with the Arkadag’, became the year of significant results attained in various fields, including in the field of ensuring human rights.

The aim of the Report is to review the milestones achieved in the reporting year to improve the standards of living of man and citizen, observe respect for human rights in the country, and highlight the work carried out within her powers by the Authorized Representative for Human Rights - the Ombudsman (hereinafter referred to as the Ombudsman) in the field of human and civil rights and freedoms.

The introduction of the Report will focus on the main events, including those related to human rights that took place in the year under review in the life of the country and the Turkmen people.

In the reporting year, the country solemnly celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the main guarantor of human and civil rights, and the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of the State Flag. For 30 years, the Basic Law has been improved in accordance with the realities of the time through amendments and additions, the adoption of a new edition. Since its adoption, the Basic Law has always recognized an individual as the highest value of society and the state; and the main goal of government authorities is to protect a person, support and serve him.

Last year, one of the main socio-political events inextricably linked with the fate of every Turkmen citizen was the holding of Presidential election on a fair, democratic basis. On 12 March 2022, a worthy son of the Turkmen people, Serdar Gurbangulyyevich Berdimuhamedov was elected to the post of President of the country on the Presidential elections held in alternative basis. These elections have once again confirmed that democratic initiatives are consistently developing in the country, the electoral system is being improved, and the unity and cohesion of the Turkmenistan people are being ensured.

In order to ensure the high-paced development of the country in various areas, namely in political, economic, social and cultural areas, and to improve the social and living conditions of the population, the Programme of the ‘Revival in a new era of a powerful state’, that is the ‘National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan for 2022-2052’ was adopted in the past year. The adoption of this long-term policy document ensuring favourable living conditions for everyone rendered a significant historical step in the further prosperity of our country.

As in previous years, last year the work carried out in the field of foreign policy, along with increasing the authority of our country in the international arena, contributed to the strengthening of friendly international relations. The Concept of the Motherland’s foreign policy for the upcoming period, in particular for 2022-2028, based on the principles of positive neutrality, peacefulness, good neighborliness and effective international co-operation, was approved. This document was aimed at addressing such tasks as ensuring peace and security at the regional and global levels, further practical implementation of the legal status of permanent neutrality of the country, the development of bilateral and multilateral relations in political, diplomatic, cultural, humanitarian and other spheres. Concurrently, it was aimed at promoting universal sustainable development and the humanization of international relations.

The unanimous election of our country as Vice-Chair of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the reporting year, as well as the unanimous adoption of important Resolutions prepared on the initiative of Turkmenistan at the general meeting of the 76-77 sessions of the UNGA, confirmed the strengthening of co-operation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies.

Over the past year, consistent work has been carried out to improve, in accordance with the needs of the time, the system of national legislation, which forms the legal basis for multidisciplinary, large-scale activities carried out in the country. The legislation was aimed at protecting the interests of the state, society and each individual. In the relevant chapters of the Report, it will be possible to get familiarized in detail with the above-mentioned and other activities carried out to ensure political, civil, economic and cultural rights and freedoms of man and citizen.

Last year was one of the most significant for the Ombudsman’s Office. Five years have passed since the election of the first Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the establishment of the Ombudsman’s Office. In this regard, in accordance with the legislation, namely, Paragraph 17 of Article 71, Paragraph 8 of Article 81 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan and Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the election of the Ombudsman for a new term has taken place.

During the past five years, the Ombudsman, within the limits of the powers provided for by the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, has organized the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office at the appropriate level and certain work has been carried out. The Annual Reports of the Ombudsman analyzed and covered the work carried out and in accordance with the requirements of the legislation they were promulgated in the media, on the website of the Ombudsman’s Office.

This Report comprising nine chapters includes the state of affairs in the country in the field of human rights and the results of activities carried out last year in accordance with the Annual Work Plan of the Ombudsman. According to the provisions of Article 20 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, it will be submitted for consideration to the esteemed President of Turkmenistan. The Ombudsman will present this Report in the Mejlis (Parliament) of Turkmenistan, and the Report will also be published in the media and on the Ombudsman’s website.

We are confident that after they have read the Report of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan on the 2022 results, government authorities, local self-government bodies, international organizations, civil society and the public, will, within their powers, further promote the provision and practical realization of human rights, taking into account the work carried out in the field of protection and promotion of human and civil rights and freedoms in the country, and the proposals and recommendations put forward.

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

An overview of the situation in the country with ensuring and observing human and civil rights and freedoms, in this chapter, should begin with Turkmenistan’s entry into the contemporary period of independent development - the Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State, consolidating the achievements of a sovereign country and opening up great opportunities for its future progress. Comprehensive work was carried out to strengthen the state foundations of our country, enhance its economic power, and consistently improve the social and living conditions of the people. The strategic document on the ‘Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State: The National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052’, which stipulated the beginning of a new stage of large-scale transformations was adopted within this work in the reporting year.

During the reporting period, the transformations affected politics, economy, social and cultural spheres. The national economy was developing at an accelerated pace, investments in healthcare, culture, science, education, sports and social infrastructure were increasing. Wages, scholarships, pensions and state allowances were steadily raising. Measures were taken to create an environmentally friendly setting, food security, and improve the living conditions of our citizens through digital systems. Targeted support was being provided to the private sector of the economy, small and medium-sized businesses.

The changes also affected the administrative-territorial units of etraps/districts, cities and villages in velayats/regions. For instance, last year, the administrative and territorial structure of velayats was improved based on management efficiency, economic opportunities, people’s access to public services, industrialization, and the creation of large settlements and providing enabling conditions for the further development of these territories. In order to increase the level of urbanization, which is one of the important indicators of socio-economic development, the status of townships was assigned to 6 villages, and 19 villages and 3 townships acceded to cities. Thus, large administrative-territorial units and 6 settlements with the status of a township were formed. These changes will further ensure high rates of socio-economic development of the regions.

The 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, as well as the establishment of the State Flag, which are the national pride of the people of Turkmenistan, was celebrated last year - the year of ‘The Era of People with the Arkadag’. The Constitution of Turkmenistan defines the social and state structures of our country, the main directions of development, the powers and principles of representative and executive authorities, and the judiciary, the rights, freedoms and duties of man and citizen. The basic norms of the Constitution on human rights, which is the highest value of society and the state, enshrines the protection, support and service for an individual as the main task of government authorities.

The socio-political campaign that took place in our country, the Presidential elections, became a historic event that demonstrated to the whole world an important decisive step in the inviolability of the foundations of a fair, equal, democratic, legal and secular state that implements the patriotic spirit of our people, a sense of responsibility for the future of their Motherland and an active social stance of every citizen. The presidential elections held in the country on 12 March 2022 reconfirmed that democratic foundations were consistently developing in the country, the electoral system was being improved, and domestic and foreign policies conducted in a new historical era were fully supported. The election was held on the principles of democracy, in accordance with the universally recognized norms of international law and national legislation.

During the Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State, scaled up work was carried out to further strengthen and harmoniously develop the national legal system. During the past year, meetings of the Halk Maslahaty and the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan were held, at which new and amended effective laws were adopted, developed in accordance with the priorities of government policy and a comprehensive programme for the modernization of the legal framework. A new edition of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan, the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On Electronic Government’, ‘On Notary and Notary activity’, ‘On Local Self-Government’ were adopted, inter alia, along with amendments and additions to other laws.

In accordance with the requirements of the time, laws covering various aspects of youth policy were constantly being improved. Last year, a new edition of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’ was adopted. The main objective of the Law was to ensure the active engagement of young people in the economic, political and cultural life of an independent Motherland. This entails the creation of more enabling legal conditions for the education of the younger generation in the spirit of patriotism, humanism and hard working. The adoption of this Law significantly strengthened the legal framework of the youth policy carried out in the country and contributed to the expansion of opportunities created for young people.

Guided by the goals of the development of our society and the requirements of the contemporary time, work continued on the implementation of socio-economic, socio-political transformations. This was evidenced by the multilateral activities carried out within the framework of the implementation of dozens of transformative programmes. The multifaceted programmes implemented during the Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State, and the historical transformations carried out in the country, are aimed at the interests of each individual and society as a whole. Such documents as:

  • The Programme on the Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State;
  • The National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052;
  • The National Programme of the President of Turkmenistan for the Transformation of the social and living conditions of the population of villages, townships, cities of etraps and etrap centres for the period up to 2028;
  • The Programme of the President of Turkmenistan of Socio-Economic Development of the country in 2022-2028;
  • The Concept of Development of the Digital Economy of Turkmenistan for 2019-2025;
  • The State Programme for the Development of the Digital Economy in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The General Programme for Providing clean drinking water to human settlements of Turkmenistan;
  • The State Programme of Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Turkmenistan for 2018-2024;
  • The Strategy for Management and Reform of State-owned enterprises in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The Programme for the Development of the Intellectual Property System of Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The National Programme for the Support and Development of Physical Culture and Sports in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The National Programme for Improving the Immunity of the Population in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025; and
  • The Concept of the Foreign Policy of Neutral Turkmenistan for 2022-2028

contribute to the achievement of these goals. These documents identify the priorities of the economic strategy of the independent state for the coming and long years, provide for scaled up reforms and projects aimed at ensuring a prosperous life for every person in the country.

It should be noted that in a country where the health of society is considered paramount, there are government and national programmes specifically aimed at protecting the health of the population. These include:

  • The National Programme for Improving the immunity of the population in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The National Strategy on Healthy Mother - Healthy Child - Healthy Future for the protection of maternal and child health in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025.

It should be noted that in 2022, in order to widely promote and approve among the population the principles of a healthy lifestyle during the Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State, the ‘Strategy for Increasing vitamin D-related Preventive Measures in Turkmenistan for 2023-2028’ and the ‘National Programme for turning Turkmenistan into a Tobacco-free country for 2022-2025’ were approved, along with Action plans for their implementation.

The main objectives of the democratic transformations carried out in the country are the ensuring of human rights and freedoms, creating of enabling social and living conditions for an individual. Diverse work is carried out to strengthen the broad realization of political, economic, social, and cultural rights of citizens in society. In order to further improve the activities of government authorities and public organizations for ensuring human rights and freedoms, the implementation of the norms of international humanitarian law in the legislation of Turkmenistan and law enforcement practice, the implementation continues of activities to ensure and respect human rights enshrined in National Plans, such as:

  • The National Action Plan for Human Rights in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The National Action Plan for Gender Equality in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025;
  • The National Action Plan for the Realization of Children’s rights in Turkmenistan for 2018-2022, the National Strategy of Turkmenistan for Early Childhood Development for 2020-2025;
  • The National Action Plan to Eliminate Statelessness in Turkmenistan for 2019-2024;
  • The National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in Turkmenistan for 2020-2022;
  • The National Action Plan for 2021-2024 for the implementation of the Strategy of Turkmenistan to prevent violent extremism and counter terrorism for 2020-2024;
  • The Action Plan for the implementation of the State Programme of Turkmenistan on State Youth Policy for 2021-2025.

All these documents undergo the process of practical implementation and are aimed at both the implementing the recommendations of the UN Treaty Bodies, and achieving the SDG indicators.

Emphasizing the significance of the events that took place within the framework of international co-operation in the field of human rights in the reporting year, it should be noted that on the eve of the International Day of Neutrality (12 December) and the 27th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s acquisition of neutral status (1995), the Annual Final meeting of the Dialogue of Women of Central Asian States was held in Ashgabat. Turkmenistan chaired the Dialogue of Women of Central Asian Countries last year. Within the framework of this association, our country successfully cooperates with international organizations and participating countries in various fields: in ensuring gender equality, peaceful and sustainable development, environmental protection, support for women’s entrepreneurship, improving the social protection of women at the legislative level. Under the chairmanship of Turkmenistan, the Dialogue has rendered an effective tool for strengthening the socio-economic and political work of Central Asian women in ensuring regional peace and security. Turkmenistan has accumulated best practices in conducting Dialogues of Women; in May last year, at the initiative of the Chairperson of the Halk Maslahaty of Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, a Dialogue of Women from Central Asian States and the Russian Federation entitled ‘The Role of Women in Socio-political and Socio-economic Development’ was successfully and effectively held in Ashgabat.

Turkmenistan’s achievements in addressing gender issues relevant to the world community are obvious. The active participation of Turkmen women in the socio–political, socio-economic and cultural life of the country can serve an example of this. Turkmenistan's efforts in this direction are supported at the international level. Confirmation of the effectiveness of the broad-scale activities implemented in this area is the election of our country to the Commission on the Status of Women for 2018-2022 and a member of the Executive Board of the UN entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (‘UN Women’) for the period 2022-2024.

As already noted, last year was marked by the 30th anniversary of the Constitution and the State Flag of Turkmenistan. Concurrently, it should be noted that last year was marked by the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries of the region, which, due to the efforts of the Heads of state, is becoming prosperous, dynamically developing and aimed at broad-scale co-operation. Exactly thirty years ago, on 2 March 1992, Turkmenistan, as a new independent State, joined the United Nations and became a full-fledged member of the international community. From the first days of joining the UN, Turkmenistan has pledged to comply with the norms and principles of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, basic conventions and other international acts. To date, Turkmenistan is a party to many international conventions and treaties in the field of human rights.

Turkmenistan as an active member of the world community, is taking important initiatives to develop broad international co-operation that meet the fundamental interests of all countries and peoples. For example, in the reporting year, the 76th session of the UNGA adopted Resolutions at the initiative of Turkmenistan on ‘The Integration of mass cycling into public transport systems to achieve sustainable development’, on ‘The Central Asia as a zone of peace, trust and co-operation’, and at the 77th session - on ‘The Year 2023 - an International year of dialogue as a guarantee of peace’.

Moreover, in the reporting year, Turkmenistan was elected a member of the UN Commission on International Trade Rights for 2022-2028. It also obtained the status of an ‘Acceding country’ to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This will strengthen Turkmenistan’s position in the field of foreign trade, enhance its international image as a reliable and responsible partner, draw in foreign investment, and expand fruitful co-operation with the WTO.

The International Conference on the Dialogue - a Guarantee of Peace’ held in last December, dedicated to the International Day of Neutrality and the 27th Anniversary of Turkmenistan's permanent neutral status has rendered one of the significant events of last year. The holding of the international forum has become a clear confirmation that Turkmenistan was not limited only to putting forward significant initiatives aimed at developing broad international co-operation, but was also taking consistent steps to implement them in practice.

Turkmenistan’s co-operation with international organizations on protection of human rights should also be mentioned. For example, during the past year, meetings of the Interagency Commission on Ensuring Compliance with Turkmenistan’s international obligations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law were held. Members of the Commission, representatives of a number of ministries and sectoral departments, and public organizations attended them. Representatives of international organizations accredited in the country also participated in one of the meetings. During that meeting, the issues of implementing plans and the participation of UN agencies in further strengthening co-operation on human rights protection were discussed.

As for the work carried out within the framework of partnership with international organizations, the relevant chapter of the Report covers the expanding interaction of the Ombudsman’s Office with reputable international and interstate organizations in the humanitarian field, as well as national human rights institutions (NHRIs) of foreign states.

According to the Annual Work Plan, the Ombudsman’s Office cooperates with public organizations on the protection of human rights, including those of women, children, and persons with disabilities. In accordance with Article 34 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, in order to promote awareness-raising on human and civil rights and freedoms, forms and methods of their protection, the Ombudsman has the right to promote initiatives of public associations aimed at recognizing, observing and protecting human and civil rights and freedoms.

The protection of human rights and freedoms in an independent, permanently neutral Turkmenistan is one of the priorities of government policy. During the reporting period, due to the positive domestic and foreign policy implemented in the country, a number of measures were carried out in the field of human rights protection. Separate chapters of this Report will describe in detail the strengthening of democratic principles and legal foundations of society and the state, the realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms of every person in the country.

Chapter II. Civil and political rights

The chapter of the Report on the implementation of civil and political human rights, as in previous years, will focus on the important work being carried out in the country to protect civil and political human rights and freedoms. As was noted in previous reports, Turkmenistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocol on 20 December 1996.

By acceding an international instrument, any country undertakes to fulfill its obligations, to implement the norms provided for in it. Therefore, Turkmenistan, as a participating state, has been demonstrating commitment to the implementation of their norms at the national level since acceding these international instruments. The main provisions of the Covenant have been implemented in national legislation, in particular, in the Constitution of Turkmenistan, and in other relevant legal framework. In our country, work is carried out annually to improve national legislation in accordance with international standards and contemporary reality. This was confirmed by the work carried out by Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, in particular, the improvement of laws that concentrated norms providing for civil and political human rights. Specifically, the humanization of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan, adopted in a new edition, as well as the improvement of the Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure Code of Turkmenistan, the Code of Administrative Offenses, the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Defense’, ‘On Military Duty and Military Service’ through the introduction of appropriate amendments and additions, should be noted.

As for the observance of civil and political rights of citizens, not only the consolidation of these rights in legislative norms, but also the assessment of their practical implementation is worth noting. Effective co-operation in the field of meeting international obligations was carried out in our country. Among the activities conducted in this field during the reporting year was a comprehensive study of the recommendations of the relevant UN committees and work on them. The National Action Plans on various areas of human rights, including civil and political ones, developed in co-operation with international organizations, in particular the UN agencies in Turkmenistan and approved by the Resolutions of the President of Turkmenistan, identify specific tasks currently being carried out.

The development of co-operation in the humanitarian sphere, which plays an important role in the foreign policy of our country and is a key condition and fundamental issue of sustainable development; initiatives put forward in this area; an active stance while addressing refugees, stateless persons and migrants related issues, are widely supported by the international community. In this regard, in January 2019, by the Decree of the esteemed President, the ‘National Action Plan for the Elimination of Statelessness in Turkmenistan for 2019-2024’ was approved, which is being successfully implemented. By the Decree of the esteemed President of Turkmenistan, more than 28 thousand people (28,167), with no citizenship, who permanently reside in Turkmenistan, have been accepted into the citizenship of Turkmenistan in recent years. This striking example rendered a follow-up of the high principles of humanism and virtue of our ancestors. Last year, as in previous years, work in this direction continued. By the Decree of the President, 1,530 people, representatives of 26 ethnicities permanently residing in the country, were granted citizenship of Turkmenistan. Additionally, 315 persons-representatives of 23 ethnicities were issued a permanent residence permit. The above, along with the fulfillment of the tasks defined in the special National Action Plan on the Elimination of Statelessness, is evidence of our country’s commitment to international human rights obligations.

During the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office received one oral appeal on civil rights, to which, on the basis of the current legislation, a corresponding recommendation was issued.

The annual plan of the Ombudsman, among other activities, on a par with monitoring the observance of civil and political human rights, includes monitoring of the rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution of Turkmenistan and other legislative acts to elect and be elected to government authorities and local self-government bodies. This includes namely the monitoring of the implementation of these constitutional rights during the organizing and conducting free democratic elections by government and local self-government bodies.

Last year the people of Turkmenistan became a participant and witness of one of the major socio-political events. The people of Turkmenistan elected a worthy son of the people of Turkmenistan to the post of Head of State - President of Turkmenistan. Elections were held on a broad alternative, democratic basis on 12 March 2022.

2,618 polling stations were set up across the country to vote in the presidential elections. As in the previous elections, in order to monitor the opportunities created for the realization of the rights of citizens to elect and be elected, the Ombudsman and staff visited dozens of polling stations in the Ahal velayat and the city of Ashgabat during the preparation and conduct of these elections.

In particular, they verified compliance of the preparation for elections, observance of the rights of candidates and voters with the requirements of the relevant legislation on 6-11 March 2022 at polling stations Nos:

10, 11, 13, 47 located in the Buzmeyin etrap of the city of Ashgabat;

56, 59 - in the Berkararlyk etrap;

24, 26, 27 - in the Kopetdag etrap;

25, 26, 65 - in the Bagtyyarlyk etrap;

25, 35, 37, 39 - in the Ak Bugday etrap, Ahal velayat;

4, 5, 17, 22 - in the Kaka etrap;

18, 22, 24, 31 - in the Baherden etrap;

31, 46, 51 - in the Gokdepe etrap.

On 12 March on Election Day, in order to monitor compliance of the election process with the law, polling stations Nos 5, 21, 22, 23, located in the Buzmeyin etrap, city of Ashgabat, 1, 30, 42, 87, 88, 89, 90 - in the Bagtyyarlyk etrap, 29 - in the Berkararlyk etrap, 4, 7, 11, 16, 59 - in the Ak Bugday etrap, Ahal velayat, were visited.

Issues, such as compliance with legal requirements, creating conditions at polling stations for voters to freely exercise their electoral rights were in the centre of attention when visiting polling stations, namely, opportunities to familiarize themselves with candidates’ autobiographies and making a final decision.

In addition, attention was paid to the completeness of voter lists and their approval, in accordance with the established procedure; provision of polling stations with appropriate methodological manuals for the conduct of elections; providing opportunities for preliminary voting of voters who would not be able to stay at their place of residence on Election Day; for participation in voting of voters who would not be able to come to polling stations on their own; registration of complaints about violations of the rights to elect and be elected and the results of their handling; records of activities, conducted at the polling stations in accordance with the law.

As a result, no grave shortcomings related to compliance with the requirements of the legislation during the preparation days and Election Day were revealed at the polling stations. Concurrently, at some polling stations, shortcomings were revealed in the documents that must comply with the Guidance on Elections, in material support, and in the approval of voter lists in accordance with the established procedure. Oral comments were made on all the shortcomings and they were corrected on the spot.

Voters over the age of seventy and young voters participating in voting for the first time were specifically indicated in the voter lists, and the memorable gifts for them on Election Day were also provided for at all polling stations.

Both the country and the world community observed the election process. For instance, 75 international observers representing dozens of countries and international organizations, 2,726 national observers from political parties, public organizations, citizen groups and candidates themselves monitored the democratic election. It should be noted that 47.76% of national observers have been women, which indicates their active participation in the socio-political life of the country.

Using the opportunities provided for by the national policy of digitalization, CCTVs were installed at hundreds of polling stations, which enabled monitoring the voting process at polling stations online on the website of the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda (CEC) on Election Days.

Thus, according to the CEC, at the time of the closure of polling stations, namely 19:00 hrs, 97.17 percent of the electorate voted. Based on the resolution of the CEC of 14 March 2022, Serdar Gurbangulyyevich Berdimuhamedov, who received 72.97 percent of the votes, was declared President of Turkmenistan.

During 2022, including during the election period, the Ombudsman’s Office received no complaints about violations of electoral rights.

One of the main duties of the Ombudsman is to monitor the implementation of the rights of citizens deprived of liberty or restricted in freedom. In particular, in accordance with the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the Ombudsman has the right to visit correctional and other specialized facilities, pre-trial detention facilities/remand centres, to conduct the inspection in them either independently or jointly with other competent state bodies, officials, civil servants.

In accordance with the provisions of the Law, complaints addressed to the Ombudsman by the persons held in the above-mentioned facilities shall not be subject to censorship and shall be sent to the Ombudsman within twenty-four hours.

In order to perform the tasks stipulated in the Law and the Annual Work Plan, the Ombudsman carries out systematic monitoring of compliance with the legislation in these facilities.

When monitoring the realization of the rights of convicts, whom a deprivation of liberty has been applied to, the Ombudsman pays special attention to ensuring the rights of a special group of convicts that is women and underage children. During the reporting period, inspections were carried out of the following facilities-places of detention for this group of convicts: MR-E/13 of the Mary velayat Police Department, where convicted underage children were held, and DZ-E/8 of the Dashoguz velayat Police Department, where convicted women were held.

In the MR-E/13 facility, the living conditions of convicts were brought into line with international standards; in order to ensure proper conditions of detention in the facility, repairs were regularly carried out. In particular, in 2015, construction and capital repairs were carried out for 2,114,240 manats, and in 2019 repairs were also carried out in the facility’s dormitory, canteen, school, gym. During the inspection period, it was confirmed that the number of convicts admitted and held in the facility in the reporting year decreased significantly compared to previous years.

At the end of the year under review, there were 54 convicts in the facility, which was 7 persons less compared to the end of 2021, and at the beginning of the year under review, there were 61 convicted persons in the facility, which was 24 persons less compared to the same period of 2021. This indicator shows that the number of criminal acts among minors leading to a punishment in the form of imprisonment decreased compared to the previous year. At the end of the reporting year, only 12 of the convicted persons held in this facility were minors, the rest were convicted persons who had reached the age of majority and, in accordance with the provisions of article 127 of the Penal Enforcement Code of Turkmenistan, were left in an educational colony until they reached the age of twenty-one. In addition, during the inspection, it was found out that there were no persons with disabilities among the convicts.

During the inspection, compliance with sanitation standards, the creation of opportunities for health protection, nutrition, cultural leisure and sports activities, as well as for short- and long-term visits with close relatives were checked in the places of residence of convicts; and it was found that all opportunities were available and in most cases were used.

For spiritual and cultural leisure of convicts, the facility has had a library, which has 6,691 books and magazines in Turkmen and other (Russian) languages in its collection. Dozens of readers used the library’s services, as it was found out, daily. Compared to the period of inspections in previous years, the library’s collection has been replenished.

In the health house of the facility, there were conditions created for the diagnostics and treatment of diseases in convicts. There were no facts of expiration dates of medicines in the health house and pharmacy. During the reporting year, only 7 convicts with a non-communicable disease who were treated in hospital were registered. At the time of the inspection, there were no persons receiving treatment. The medical service was staffed fully but one employee.

As for sports, there were winter and summer gyms and playgrounds at the disposal of underage convicts; for cultural leisure, singing and music there was a house of culture equipped with various musical instruments.

Possibilities have been created for convicts to use the services of a store under the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations of Turkmenistan. When checking the expiration dates of food products, expired products were not found.

It should be noted that the possibility of obtaining secondary education has been created for convicts. As noted in previous reports, convicts received knowledge in a city secondary school located on the territory of the colony No. 14, according to the curricula approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs in coordination with the Minister of Education of Turkmenistan. For convicts, this is a great opportunity to get a certificate of secondary education - their upbringing and adaptation to life. At the time of the inspection, the school had 7 classes, in which 8 teachers teach 18 students. During the reporting year, 14 convicts received a certificate of secondary education.

During the inspection, the Ombudsman conducted group and individual interviews with those serving sentences. During individual meetings with them, remorse for what they had done was articulated, issues of probation or parole were raised, and there were no other complaints.

When checking compliance with the requirements concerning visits of convicts with relatives, conversations through means of communication, sending and receiving parcels and letters, transferring things, it was found that all opportunities for this were created. During meetings and conversations with teenagers and their relatives, who had meetings on the day of the inspection, no complaints were received from the convicts and their relatives.

Only 2 appeals were registered in the Log of Appeals of the facility during 2022, of which 1 - with a request for assistance in returning to the place of residence after release due to serving a full term, 1 - with a request to issue a certificate of education. The appeals were satisfied.

During the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office received no appeals from criminally prosecuted and convicted minors, their close relatives and legal representatives. When visiting a correctional facility, a full analysis was carried out on the types of crimes committed by minors, recidivism, regions of their residence and other circumstances. Based on the results, the recommendations of the Ombudsman on improving the educational, pedagogical and discipline work carried out in the facility were provided.

It should be noted here that a new version of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan was adopted in the reporting year, which entered into force on 1 January 2023. It has incorporated the humanization of norms related to minors.

As noted above, in the reporting year, the Ombudsman visited the facility DZ-E/8 of the Dashoguz velayat Police Department, where convicted women were held.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Penal Enforcement Code of Turkmenistan, only convicted women are held in this facility.

At the time of the inspection, there were a total of 1,498 convicts in the facility, who were kept in a general, strict regime. No convicts who had not reached the age of majority were there. In the places of residence of convicted persons, a check was carried out on the full provision of sanitation standards, created opportunities for health protection, nutrition, organization of cultural leisure and sports, work, short- and long-term visits with close relatives. During the inspection, it was established that the building of this facility, constructed in 2013 in accordance with international standards at the expense of the state budget for 285,585.000 US dollars, fully ensured the above-mentioned opportunities.

When checking the observance of the right of the sentenced persons to work, it was found that they worked in three shifts in a sewing workshop designed for 350 jobs, in a shoe shop for 250 jobs, in a manual sewing workshop, and were engaged in services. The wages of 25 convicts were paid from the state budget, those working at the production enterprise received a piece-rate pay, the transfer of wages to their personal accounts was fully established. Their workplaces were visited, familiarization with working conditions took place and meetings were held separately. As a result, there were no shortcomings in respect of compliance with safety standards and harmful working conditions, and there were no complaints from convicts regarding compliance with labour standards.

Convicted women have had winter and summer gyms and playgrounds for sports at their disposal, and there was a cultural centre equipped with various musical instruments for cultural leisure, song and music classes.

The facility had a library with 3,681 books and magazines in Turkmen and other (Russian) languages, convicts used the services of an electronic library. Compared with the period of inspections in previous years, the library’s collection has been replenished.

Compliance with the rights of convicted women to protect their health was also checked. The health control and treatment of convicts was carried out in a multidisciplinary hospital of the facility. 18 health workers in the hospital occupy 34 staffing positions. During the inspection period, 9 convicts were being treated in the hospital, their diseases were diagnosed and information about treatment was handled in accordance with the requirements. Interviews were conducted with patients of the hospital, and there were no complaints received from them. Diagnoses of the applicants were made in a multidisciplinary hospital, and they were referred and escorted to medical centres outside the facility to further diagnose the corresponding disease, as necessary. During 2022, this mode was used with regard to 116 convicts; 17 convicted persons were referred for surgery to medical centres located outside the facility. No medicines with expired dates were found in the hospital and pharmacy.

In addition, opportunities have been created for convicts to use the services of a store under the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations of Turkmenistan. When checking the expiration dates of food products, expired products were not found.

The facility has had a kindergarten for 80 places, in which there were no children at the time of the inspection. There were no minors among the convicts.

The above, based on the results of the inspection, shows that all opportunities have been created for convicted women to exercise the rights provided for in the penal enforcement legislation.

Despite this, facts have been revealed in the facility that required improvement of activities and constant monitoring, strengthening of responsibility. The Ombudsman sent three recommendations to the senior management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the elimination of shortcomings.

In addition to the Ombudsman’s inspection on the observance of the rights of persons deprived of liberty, supervisory authorities, who have the right to monitor without their permission, carried out inspections in the facilities, based on Article 21 of the Penal Enforcement Code of Turkmenistan. In particular, the Prosecutor’s Office conducted 490 inspections; the Supervisory commission conducted 12 inspections. According to the results of the inspections, after their consideration enforcement prosecutors’ actions were taken, in particular, 33 protests, 259 submissions, 90 resolutions, 4 warnings, 243 employees were brought to disciplinary responsibility.

During the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office received no appeals from women sentenced to imprisonment; one oral appeal was registered from their close relatives, which contained dissatisfaction with the criminal investigation and the court verdict. As for the appeal, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, a recommendation was issued on legal remedies of protecting their rights. During the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office received 65 written and 27 oral appeals related to civil and political rights. The appeals were considered in accordance with the provisions of the Law; 6 written and 1 oral appeals were satisfied.

Based on the results of the analysis of ensuring the political and civil rights of citizens in the country and on the results of the activities carried out by the Ombudsman in order to facilitate the observance of their specified rights, the following is proposed:

  • strengthen efforts to ensure effective consideration of citizens’ appeals on civil and political rights by law enforcement and military authorities in the manner and within the time limits established by law;
  • in order to prevent an increase in complaints about dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers, based on the results of the analysis of such complaints, studies of their causes, strengthen the work to prevent the appearance of such complaints; 
  • taking into account the increase in citizens’ complaints about dissatisfaction with investigative actions on offenses, criminal acts or initiated criminal cases in comparison with previous years, strengthen control over the registration of these complaints in accordance with the established procedure, thorough study of them, compliance with the constitutional rights of citizens by investigative bodies during investigative work;
  • in order to raise awareness on international human rights standards of employees from correctional institutions, pre-trial detention centres, specialized rehabilitation centres, to continue the effective holding of regular workshops and seminars jointly with national human rights institutions and international organizations;

taking into account the partial implementation of these recommendations, following the Ombudsman’s actions regarding the activities of correctional institutions, pre-trial detention centres, specialized rehabilitation centres, to carry out specific work on the recommendations, to improve the organization of the activities of these facilities in accordance with the provisions of the penal enforcement legislation of Turkmenistan.

Chapter III. Economic, social and cultural rights

During the Revival in a new era of a powerful state, in the year of ‘The Era of People with the Arkadag’, scaled up transformations continued in our country and high milestones were achieved in the economic, social and cultural areas. These achievements were connected to the whole complex of objectives being addressed in public life, with the improvement of the economy, the cultural development, the improvement of living conditions and welfare, etc.

The large-scale, fundamental reforms that were successfully implemented last year were primarily aimed at improving the welfare of every Turkmenistan citizen. In the reporting year, in order to ensure high rates of political, economic, social and cultural development of the state, further improvement of social and living conditions of the population, the Programme on the ‘Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State: The National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052’ was adopted. The adoption of this important policy document was a historic step towards the further prosperity of our state and the welfare of the people. The planned milestones of a comprehensive document dedicated to the socio-economic development of Turkmenistan for the next 30 years encompassed broad issues, all aspects of economic, social and cultural life.

The adoption of this Programme has set responsible tasks for the sectors of the economy aimed at the rapid growth of the domestic economy and further improvement of the welfare of people in Turkmenistan. Comprehensive measures for the further progressive development of the country were successfully implemented, which contributed to ensuring positive trends in all sectors of the economy and regions. Macroeconomic indicators over the past year, in particular, stable GDP growth of 6.2 percent, serve as a clear confirmation of this. According to the data, in general, in 2022, output in comparison with 2021 increased by 11 percent. Thus, effective production indicators have been achieved in the sectors of the economy. These impressive indicators created a solid foundation for further rapid economic growth, and testified to the balanced and careful development of the main areas of the long-term economic development of Turkmenistan.

Many programmes and plans are successfully implemented that take into account the goals of improving the socio-economic level of our country. The main goal of state and national programmes is to maintain high dynamics of political, economic, socio-cultural development of the country, consistent improvement of the standard of living of the population, ensuring a happy future for young people.

As part of the successful implementation of these programme documents, the necessary work was carried out in the country to modernize all sectors of the economy, develop cities and villages of velayats. Last year, work was carried out to improve the administrative-territorial structure of velayats in accordance with the requirements of the time. The changes affected the administrative-territorial units of etraps, towns and villages of the velayats, where effective management, economic opportunities, access of people to public services, industrialization, the creation of large human settlements and the provision of enabling conditions for the further development of these territories were taken into account. Concurrently, these reforms were aimed at creating more favourable conditions for people’s lives, increasing the efficiency of the social system, and positive regulation of labour relations.

Turkmenistan, where an individual is identified as the highest value of society and the state, confidently follows the path of prosperity in socio-economic terms. Turkmenistan is consistently working to improve the national legal system that protects the interests of the state, society and each individual. In the reporting year, work was continued to improve legislative activities. It aimed at the economic and socio-cultural development of our country, the effective implementation of a humanistic course focused on the systematic improvement of people’s lives. During the year, many laws were adopted, amendments and additions were made to existing legislative acts aimed at regulating activities in the economic, social, and cultural spheres. These included the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On Electronic Government’, ‘On Dog Breeding and Cynological activity’, ‘On Notary and Notary activity’, ‘On Circus and Circus art’.

The signing by the Head of state of a new version of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’ during the VII Congress of the Youth Organization should be specifically noted. The expansion of ways to improve educational work among young people, the formation of healthy lifestyle principles, the modernization of norms aimed at developing a sense of patriotism, respect for other nations, responsibility, diligence, along with the expansion of safeguards and benefits provided to young people were among the main features of the Law.

The population and housing census has become one of the important events in the reporting year related to the socio-economic life of the country. A continuous census of the population and housing stock took place from 17 to 27 December 2022 throughout the country under the motto: ‘Population Census 2022: Cohesion, Happiness, a Bright Future’. The main objective of this campaign was to obtain accurate data on the demographic composition and socio-economic situation of the country’s population. Information about the size, distribution and characteristics of the population will allow laying a reliable foundation for further progress and prosperity of the state, improving the welfare of the people.

Social policy acts as the main driver for the realization of high-level life support of the population, maintaining and ensuring economic stability, well-being and prosperity of any state. Social policy is one of the main components of the life of society and is central for its urgent needs. Since social policy is a priority of our state, over 70% of state budget expenditures are directed to the social sphere: financing of health and education systems, culture, housing and communal services, increasing wages, pensions, state benefits, student scholarships, as well as the implementation of projects in this area. Additional social benefits were provided to special categories of citizens, veterans, persons with disabilities and children who have lost parental care. Wages for large and medium-sized enterprises in the country were 10.4 percent higher in 2022 compared to 2021. In the reporting year, the minimum wage, the basic amount for calculating state benefits and pensions, as well as the minimum amount of pensions for veterans of the Great Patriotic War, their spouses and home front workers were raised.

Social benefits were extended to young families; the necessary measures were taken to assist them in acquiring contemporary housing. On 23 September 2022, the esteemed President of Turkmenistan signed a decree increasing the amount of a loan to 20 thousand manats with a 1% annual interest for a period of 3 years, without security, based on a guarantee to officially registered newlyweds. It was done in order to further improve the social and living conditions of young families, who formed a family, for the purchase of necessary household goods.

As for social protection, it should be mentioned that the country has implemented a Joint Programme of the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations on ‘Improving the community-based social protection system through the introduction of inclusive quality social services’ for 2020-2022. 45 employees were hired and trained in the basics of social work to provide social services to the most vulnerable groups of the population within the pilot project. Upon completion of the Programme, the provision of social services was fully transferred under public administration and financing from the state budget, which later became part of the country’s social protection system.

The recognition of an individual in our country as the highest value of society and the state comes from a socially oriented domestic policy. This way social policy covers all aspects of human life: improvement of living and working conditions, satisfaction of spiritual and material needs, and implementation of social protection. In other words, the main goal of social policy aims at creating optimal conditions for a decent standard of living for all citizens.

During 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 relevant institutions, in particular the Children’s Home of Dashoguz velayat, the Home for People with Disabilities and Senior Citizens of Mary velayat. During the inspections, it was revealed that the requirements of the legislation were mostly met, but at the same time, shortcomings and wishes were identified.

For example, during the inspection of a Children’s Home, the need to open full-time positions in the occupations of neurologist, speech therapist and psychiatrist was identified. These specialists were required for the treatment and development of children in the Children’s Home, including children with disabilities. In the Home for People with Disabilities and Senior Citizens, some minor shortcomings in records management were identified, and fire safety rules were not fully observed. These shortcomings were eliminated during the inspection. On some issues, the recommendations of the Ombudsman on the conduct of relevant work were proposed.

During the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office received 4 written appeals, which account for 1.2% related to the issue of social protection. Such a small number of appeals on this issue could be regarded as resulting from ensuring the socio-economic rights of every citizen and person in the country.

Improving the system of social relations, the quality of human potential opens up new opportunities and prospects for economic development and growth of the state. The construction sector is one of the priorities of the successfully implemented economic strategy of Turkmenistan. In accordance with government programmes aimed at further development of a diversified national economy based on innovation, full-scale use of resource potential and comprehensive reform of the regions, the investment and construction complex is assigned a key role in ensuring the rapid dynamics of the country.

In the new historical era, extended urban development projects are being successfully implemented in the country. For example, a new modern administrative centre of the Ahal velayat - the city of Arkadag is currently under construction. It will provide all conditions for comfortable living of people, recreation, fruitful work and study, sports and creativity. According to the Master Plan approved by the Hero Arkadag, centralized management of lifts installed in high storey buildings will be arranged, along with tactile paths for the visually impaired people and cycle lanes are being laid along the sides of the streets of the new city. This is a clear evidence that taking care of a person is a priority of government policy.

In the year of the Era of People with the Arkadag (2022), a number of complexes of new modern social facilities were put into operation in various parts of the country - residential buildings, secondary schools, day-care centres, healthcare facilities, shopping malls and entertainment centres, etc. It should be noted that among those who received apartments were citizens in need of better housing conditions. For example, at the end of December 2022, the opening of a residential area in the west of Ashgabat took place, 4-storey 62 residential buildings were commissioned, meaning that 3,068 families became owners of apartments with all the necessary conveniences.

Extended reforms in the social sphere are being carried out in the velayats of the country, the construction of social facilities with comfortable living conditions is being consistently carried out. At the same time, the focus is on the affordability of housing for all segments of the population. The state pays great attention to ensuring a high standard of living for people with disabilities. The construction of a 4-storey 48-apartment residential building designed for people with disabilities in the Sakarchage etrap of Mary velayat financed from the Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov Charitable Foundation for Assistance Children in Need of Guardianship was evidence that caring for people, including people with disabilities, was identified among the priorities of the government policy.

However, even despite the commissioning of a large number of social facilities last year, the bulk of the appeals received by the Ombudsman’s Office related to housing issues. Namely, 164 appeals were received during the year, of which 106 or 31% were written, and 58 or 34.73% were oral. Following consideration of these appeals, according to the Law, relevant decisions were made, of which 4 were satisfied. Despite the broad-scale activities carried out in the country in order to provide every citizen with the right to housing, obtaining or acquiring well-maintained residential premises, every year a certain part of appeals were appeals of this sort. The chapter on ‘Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman’ will give specific examples to this.

Everyone has the right to education. According to Article 55 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, general secondary education is compulsory; everyone has the right to receive it free in state educational institutions. The state ensures that vocational education is accessible to everyone in accordance with his or her abilities. This provision of the country’s Basic Law complies with the provisions of international instruments in the field of education and guarantees the right to education for every person are recognized as the highest value of our state.

A lot of work is being done in our country, relevant documents are being adopted aimed at realizing the rights of the child to education and health, education based on the principles of statehood of our ancestors, which were passed down from generation to generation.

The National Action Plan for the Realization of Children’s Rights in Turkmenistan for 2018-2022 and National Strategy for Early Childhood Development in Turkmenistan for 2020-2025 have been of great importance in the development of education and the provision of contemporary education to children, aimed at ensuring the protection of the rights and interests of the child, improving living conditions. A lot of work is carried out to improve the quality of education through the introduction of international standards and best practices, ensuring the accessibility of high-quality inclusive education to all young children of preschool age, the introduction of standards for early childhood development and school preparedness into the curricula of secondary and higher vocational education institutions.

Digital education is of paramount importance in the process of effective implementation of scientific achievements, innovative methods of teaching and educating young people. In this context, an important role is assigned to the Concept of the Development of the Digital Education System in Turkmenistan, aimed at the comprehensive development of the young generation, creating conditions for excellent education, education on the principles of statehood, and the formation of a healthy young generation.

The Concept of Improving Foreign Language Teaching in Turkmenistan, the Concept of Improving the Teaching of Subjects in Natural and Exact Sciences in Turkmenistan also define comprehensive measures for the application of innovative scientific methods at a high level in the educational process.

In accordance with the Concepts of transition to twelve-year general secondary education, the development of the digital education system, the improvement of teaching foreign languages, teaching subjects in natural and exact sciences, educational-pedagogical work is steadily improving. In this view, dozens of new contemporary secondary educational and preschool institutions equipped with modern multimedia equipment and digital technologies are being built and put into operation throughout the country, annually. For example, on the occasion of the Day of Knowledge and Student Youth, 7 schools and 5 preschools were put into operation last year. On behalf of the Hero Arkadag and the President of Turkmenistan, 159,772 notebook computers were presented to the 1st grade secondary school students as a gift.

The enrollment of students in higher and secondary vocational education institutions increases from year to year. In 2022, 14,964 students were admitted to higher education institutions of the country, and 10,490 people were admitted to secondary vocational education institutions. All this indicates that the main goal of the ongoing reforms in this area is to ensure universal access to education, to create optimal conditions for the citizens of the country to realize their potential and talents.

According to the norms of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’ in the new edition, a legal privilege has been established on the creation of one-time opportunity for young men who have finished secondary school or special educational institutions, i.e. temporary deferral from conscription for military service, to participate in admission exams in higher education/ higher vocational and secondary vocational education institutions. The norms also provide preferential rights for admission to state institutions of vocational education by young people who have completed military service on conscription, after passing admission exams.

It is worth noting that in the reporting year, a Working group was established in Turkmenistan to develop educational programmes on human rights, which included a representative of the Ombudsman’s Office. Within the Working Group the international experience and best practices of integrating human rights education courses into the curricula of higher education institutions of the country are studied.

During the period under review, the Ombudsman kept issues related to the realization of children’s right to education at the constant focus. As part of this work, the Ombudsman visited secondary school No. 14, which was located in the city of Bayramaly on the territory of MR-E/13 of the Mary velayat Police Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan. The Ombudsman got acquainted with the realization of the right to education of persons in the correctional facility. During the inspection, it was found that the school had a shortage of teachers in some disciplines. Given that this situation prevents students from receiving secondary education according to the approved curriculum, the Ombudsman issued an appropriate recommendation to tackle this issue.

In 2022, the Ombudsman’s Office received 4 written and 1 oral appeal on the right to education, which were considered in accordance with the procedure established by law.

One of the basic human rights is the right to labour. In its policy, Turkmenistan, being a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), is committed to creating conditions for decent work and social justice for all. The Basic Law and the Labour Code of Turkmenistan provide legal regulations for socio-economic safeguards, the realization of citizens’ right to work and legal labour relations.

The new version of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’, as mentioned before, establishes a number of novelties. Concurrently, the changes also affected the work sphere, in particular, preferential payment of income tax by young specialists who have graduated from education institutions and have just been hired was established: in the first year of the period of employment they pay 50 percent of the income tax, during the second and third years - less by 25 percent. Such additions as the provision by the state of material and financial support for young scientists to conduct research, innovation and implementation activities, and the creation of special investment funds to support young entrepreneurs should be pointed at.

In accordance with the Law, enterprises that have at least 75 percent of young people among the staff shall be considered a youth enterprise. Young people who have been admitted to study in vocational education institutions on a paid basis and who have consequently shown high marks in studies, state and international competitions, public activities, can continue their studies on a free basis. They can participate in environmental projects implemented in Turkmenistan at the state level; participate in restoration of historical monuments and development of domestic tourism.

In the modern context of market relations, one of the important rights of people is the right to entrepreneurial activity. With this aim, legislative guarantees of entrepreneurship provide an opportunity for the full exercise of the right to entrepreneurial activity. The regulations on economic relations determine the principal ways of further development of the entire economic system of the country. Therefore, the issue of safeguards for ensuring and exercising the right to entrepreneurial activity renders extremely relevant.

The Programme of Socio-Economic Development of the Country was approved in 2022, in order to ensure the multi-vector and sustainable development of the national economy, increase export potential, enable widespread introduction of digital economy and cutting-edge technologies in the industry, create an enabling business environment and continue providing state support to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), implement measures in all regions to increase economic power, create new jobs, strengthen social security and further improve the social and living conditions of the people. In this regard, it should be noted that the programme of lending to SMBs has been expanded; the programme of creating new jobs, especially in the velayats, has been reviewed. All these measures were taken within the gradually implemented State Programme to support SMBs for the period 2018-2024.

Support for private entrepreneurship is one of the most important aspects of the socio-economic development of our country and is closely linked to the implementation of major government programmes and projects. The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in its ranks unites 28,078 representatives of private businesses operating in almost all sectors of the economy, of which 5,305 are women. During the reporting year, 1,086 entrepreneurs, including 174 women, were accepted into membership. This was a clear confirmation of the realization of women’s economic rights and performing entrepreneurial activities by them. More than 2,000 thousand jobs were created in the private sector during the last year.

Further comprehensive development of the entrepreneurship, increasing the role of the private sector through the widespread introduction of contemporary market mechanisms and strengthening public-private partnership have been identified as priorities in the Programme on Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State: the National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052’. Speaking about the state support of the private sector, it should be underlined that last year the construction of the higher education institution of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan was launched, which is scheduled to open in September 2025.

A number of new schools, healthcare facilities, and new factories and plants last year entailed a platform for new jobs. In the reporting year 2022, according to the updates of systematic monitoring by the Ombudsman of the work carried out in this area, 17,822 out of 30,488 persons registered by labour exchanges and social security institutions in connection with job search were employed. That is, over 50 percent of the people on the lookout for job were employed, including 11,175 men, 6,647 women, and 65 persons with disabilities.

On labour issues, the Ombudsman’s Office received a total of 21 appeals, in particular, 15 written appeals, 4.4% of the total number, 9 oral - 5.39% from the total number. In essence, they were related to employment issues. Compared to 2021, the number of employment appeals have significantly dropped. Relevant decisions were taken with relation to these appeals according to the Law, of which 1 was satisfied.

The issues of protecting and strengthening the health of the nation are given special attention by the state, whose main value is the well-being of all its citizens, including the daily care of providing them with timely and high-quality health services. Based on the fact that human health protection is an integral part of the constitutional norm, extended activities are carried out in the health care system. Equality of citizens to receive safe and high-quality medical care and medical services, their accessibility, priority of motherhood and childhood, social protection of citizens in case of disability, inadmissibility of refusal to provide medical care and medical services are the basic principles of government policy in the field of public health protection.

The implementation of the State Programme ‘Saglyk/Health’ is successfully underway, according to which the domestic healthcare is being brought into compliance with the requirements of the time.

Turkmenistan has adopted a package of legislative acts, national and state programmes on health, which are regularly updated and aligned with the times and recommendations of the World Health Organization. They included the National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025; the National Programme for Improving the Immunity of the Population in Turkmenistan for 2021-2025; The National Strategy on Healthy Mother - Healthy Child - Healthy Future for 2021-2025, for the Protection of Maternal and Child Health in Turkmenistan. Also in 2022, the Resolutions of the Head of State approved the National Programme for the Transformation of Turkmenistan into a Tobacco-Free Country for 2022-2025 and the Strategy for Increasing Vitamin D-related Preventive Measures in Turkmenistan for 2023-2028, along with Action Plans for their implementation.

Great importance is attached to strengthening international co-operation in the current extended work on reforming national healthcare. In this area, reliable and long-term partners of our country are reputable organizations, primarily the UN and its specialized agencies, in particular, WHO, together with which the most important projects are implemented. The Turkmenistan-United Nations Sustainable Development Co-operation Framework for 2021-2025 aimed at increasing co-operation in a wide range of areas is the clear confirmation of this.

The UN system also supported the implementation of national strategies, including the National Nutrition Programme for 2020-2025, the National Strategy for Early Childhood Development for 2020-2025, the National Tuberculosis Control Programme, and the expansion of the Initiative to create Child-friendly Hospitals. Moreover, the Regional Nutrition Partnership Platform for 2021-2022 was implemented, in which Turkmenistan assumed the role of the Secretariat in 2021.

A public organization of physicians of Turkmenistan was established based on the Law ‘On Public Associations’ in order to ensure the protection of people’s health, the widespread use of best practices accumulated by international and national healthcare, the implementation of state programmes adopted in this area. Human health protection is an inclusive system that encompasses a number of determinants: the availability of modern medical centres and sanatoria equipped with state-of-the-art equipment from the world’s best producers, the development of mass sports movement and active recreation infrastructure, and the establishment of principles and skills of a healthy lifestyle in society.

Maternal and child health issues are in the primary focus of the national health policy. Turkmenistan has joined the main international conventions and strategies aimed at ensuring the development and health of the child. Within the State Programme ‘Saglyk/Health’ in all velayat centres and the city of Ashgabat, the commissioning of the maternal and child healthcare centres ‘Ene mähri’ (Maternal Tenderness), diagnostics, wellness centres equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, the Scientific and Clinical Centre for maternal and child health took place. In addition, the introduction of new vaccines in the national vaccination schedule contributed to the reduction of morbidity, child and maternal mortality.

The Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov Charitable Foundation for Assistance to Children in Need of Guarndianship plays a significant role in it. The Foundation was established solely for the purpose of social support of the younger generation, children in need of care, assistance in health rehabilitation, creating favourable conditions for their happy life. Due to the Foundation’s funding, complex medical surgical operations are performed on orphans and children from low-income families, who are treated in children’s hospitals.

In 2022, 92 operations were performed on orphans and children from low-income families in the best national clinics: the Centre for Maternal and Child Health, Lebap velayat, the Children’s Hospital, Mary velayat and the Centre for Maternal and Child Health, city of Ashgabat, funded by the Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov Charitable Foundation. In May 2022 only, the Foundation financed operations for children from low-income families on the heart carried out at the International Cardiology Centre, on the knee joints carried out at the Scientific and Clinical Centre for Maternal and Child Health in Ashgabat. Such facts can serve as specific examples. The Charitable Foundation financed examination of 23 children at the International Centre for Endocrinology and Surgery. Large funds in the national currency were earmarked for these purposes.

Moreover, the Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov Charitable Foundation for Assistance to Children in Need of Guardianship allocated 200 thousand US dollars last year for the purchase of consumables for performing cardiological operations using an open-heart cardiopulmonary bypass machine, and for X-ray endovascular operations using an occluder - a special device that allows closing an interatrial septal defect, for children with congenital heart disease.

Currently, some children in our country need heart surgery. It is worth mentioning that the latest and effective aortic medications are used for the treatment of children with heart disorders and pathologies.

In the reporting year, while visiting the Scientific and Clinical Centre for Maternal and Child Health of the capital, the Hero Arkadag allocated 400 thousand US dollars from the Charitable Foundation for Assistance to Children in Need of Guardianship for the treatment of children in this Centre. He specifically emphasized that the scaled up work carried out in the healthcare sector was a concrete outcome of comprehensive human health care.

During the past year, the Ombudsman’s Office received only 3 written - 0.9% and 2 oral - 1.2% of the total number of appeals from citizens on health issues, which were considered in accordance with the requirements of the law.

Everyone has the right to participate in cultural life, to have access to cultural values. According to Article 56 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the state promotes the development of science, culture, art, folk art, sports and tourism.

The state cultural policy is carried out through the organization of educational and promotional activities, various events, including at the international level. Consistent work is being carried out in Turkmenistan to expand the range and improve the quality of cultural services, enhance their outreach, update the repertoire of creative collectives, museum and library collections, and coordinate the activities of cultural institutions.

The events of 2022 reflected the enormous creative potential of national culture. Significant dates and holidays were marked in the country by thematic conferences, art and book exhibitions, concerts, theatre premieres and creative meetings, solemn ceremonies of commissioning social and cultural facilities. Thus, in honour of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with other countries, a number of events were held abroad with the participation of representatives of the creative circles of Turkmenistan to promote the national culture. In turn, Days of Culture of friendly countries were held in Turkmenistan that enabled to get acquainted with cuisine, watch movies in foreign languages, etc. The very fact of holding these cultural events is a clear evidence of a qualitatively new level of constructive dialogue established in recent years between Turkmenistan and friendly countries, mutual desire to establish closer ties in the cultural and humanitarian sphere.

It is important to note that some work was done last year to further strengthen the legal framework of the cultural sphere. The President of Turkmenistan approved the Procedure for assigning the legal status of ‘National theatre’ and ‘Academic theatre’ to theatre groups, and the procedure and terms for granting the legal status of ‘National museum’ to state museums. Great work was done to develop the sphere of national culture, an integral part of which is circus art. In this regard, the adoption in November 2022 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Circus and Circus Art’, which was aimed at creating regulatory and legal conditions for the effective development of circus art in the country in accordance with contemporary reality, was of great importance.

Gradual work is performed to further modernize the national culture, thorough study the values of the national cultural heritage, promote them internationally in accordance with the Programme on ‘Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State: The National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052’. In the same vein, necessary measures are taken to improve activities in the field of protection, study and restoration of cultural heritage.

Work continued on the implementation of the objectives provided for by the ‘Programme for the Development of the Cultural Sphere in Turkmenistan for 2019-2025’. In accordance with the Programme, work continued to improve the activities of theatres, cinema and concert centres, libraries, museums, art schools, cultural centres, state historical and cultural reserves.

Special importance is given to the ‘State Programme for the Careful Preservation of objects of National Historical and Cultural Heritage, their protection, study and attraction of tourists for 2022-2028’ adopted last year. It aimed at improving the efficiency of work on the streamlining of objects of national historical and cultural heritage on a scientific basis; addressing key and priority tasks related to the development of the preserved cultural heritage of the spiritual world and the principles of the cultural life of the people; regulating scientific research; patriotic education of young people; training of specialists with high intellectual ability to be proficient in cutting-edge technology.

The development of the national culture of each country is largely determined by the attitude of society towards an individual and his opportunities for creative participation in the transformation of socio-economic life.

In 2022, in the implementation of broad-scale plans of the new historical era, a special role was assigned to talented youth; great attention was paid to their professional growth, and to the development of all kinds of various arts, promotion of national heritage in the world.

One of the highlights of the country’s public life was the Culture Week, an annual event dedicated to the professional holiday of workers of culture and arts of Turkmenistan, as well as poetry of Magtymguly Pyragy, which was held last year from 22 to 27 June in Mary velayat. The event, held for the tenth time in our country, enabled to present the historical and cultural heritage of the people of Turkmenistan in all its diversity. Representatives of various nationalities living in our country took part in these events with their national performances.

Turkmenistan continues to actively cooperate with UNESCO, in particular, to enrich the World Heritage List. At the suggestion of Turkmenistan, supported by friendly countries, in 2022, the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage was enhanced with ‘The Turkmen Art of Embroidery’, ‘The Tradition of Retelling the wit of Mullah Efendi’, ‘Sericulture and Traditional Silk Production for Weaving’ items.

During the meeting of the Permanent Council of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) held in November of the reporting year, its participants, at the request of the Turkmen side, unanimously supported the proposal to declare 2024 of both: in honour of the 300th anniversary of Magtymguly Pyragy ‘The Year of the Great Poet and Thinker of the Turkic world - Magtymguly Pyragy’; and ‘The ancient Turkmen city of Anew - the Cultural Capital of the Turkic world in 2024’.

In the past 2022, the Ombudsman’s Office received no complaints about violations of cultural rights.

Summing up the chapter devoted to the economic, social and cultural rights of citizens in our country, it should be emphasized that in the reporting year, all long-term and contemporary goals of the new era of the powerful state were aimed at increasing the economic capacity of the country, providing employment and developing human capital. In the times of the Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State, Turkmenistan continued its course towards improving the social model in order to achieve a decent quality and standard of living for every citizen. In order to further promote the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights of citizens, we recommend:

  • in order for Turkmenistan to strictly comply with international obligations on economic, social and cultural rights of citizens, it is necessary to continue studying the recommendations of the UN treaty bodies in these areas;
  • in order to prevent further complaints about dissatisfaction with the distribution of apartments in new houses, it is necessary to strengthen monitoring of the analysis of the priority of citizens for housing. It should focus, in particular, on persons with disabilities, large families, single mothers, orphans without both parents, and employees of relevant institutions, who need housing improvement and residential buildings with all amenities built by order of ministries and sectoral departments;
  • in order to increase the opportunities for the realization of citizens’ rights to work, to carry out systematic monitoring of the activities of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan, agencies and units of labour and social security of the population, including the reliability of information on vacant jobs submitted by organizations; on the outcomes of the referral of citizens on the lookout for jobs, including persons with disabilities;
  • strengthen monitoring of compliance with the requirements of international obligations for ensuring the rights of people with disabilities, the realization of their rights to access social services, in particular, access to public places, buildings, transport and other service sectors;
  • in order to increase the capacity of people with various disabilities, to ensure the availability of published information, works, TV, in particular, the use of Braille, subtitles, sign language interpreter services;

in contemporary market relations with the development of private business and the increase of entrepreneurs in the country, the Ombudsman’s Office receives appeals on various issues of the private sector. Due to the lack of legal framework for considering these appeals by the Office, it is necessary to continue studying the international experience of independent bodies for the protection of rights of individuals privately working for physical persons and legal entities, engaged in entrepreneurial activity, and consequently in legal relations with these legal entities. The significance and possibility of establishing a separate entity in our country dealing with these issues should be recognized.

Chapter IV. Review of handling citizens’ complaints/ appeals 

The Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan, the Ombudsman performs his/her powers in accordance with the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ and other legal acts, regulations and international treaties of Turkmenistan.

One of the main functions of the Ombudsman is to consider complaints about decisions or actions of officials and organizations that violate the rights and freedoms of citizens of Turkmenistan and foreign citizens and stateless persons who are on the territory of Turkmenistan, guaranteed by the Constitution of Turkmenistan, other regulations, legal acts and international treaties of Turkmenistan. Chapter 5 of the above-mentioned Law provides for the procedure, conditions, and terms of consideration of citizens’ complaints/appeals and rules for making decisions on them.

Here is the review of handling the citizens’ complaints/appeals carried out in 2022 by the Ombudsman in accordance with the specified provisions.

During the year under review, the Ombudsman’s Office accepted 523 appeals, including 356 written and 167 oral. The following indicators show their distribution by quarter:

Type of appeal

I

quarter

II

quarter

III

quarter

IV

quarter

Total

1.

Written

90

86

85

95

356

2.

Oral

15

53

44

55

167

3.

Total No of appeals

105

139

129

150

523

As the indicators show, the number of registered written complaints increased in the first quarter, decreased in the second and third quarters, and increased in the fourth quarter. According to the analysis of oral appeals, their number decreased in the first and third quarters, and increased in the second and fourth quarters.

In 2022, the number of written and oral appeals increased in comparison with 2021.

Based on annual indicators, this fact can be explained to some extent by the activities of the Ombudsman for the protection of human rights and raising public awareness on human rights based on an Annual Work Plan, and the lifting temporary measures to combat the spread and prevention of the pandemic of acute coronavirus disease in our country in the second half of 2022.

It should be noted in this part of the Annual Report, that the regular communication of relevant information on the Ombudsman’s website in order to raise public awareness on human rights, including the right to appeal to the Ombudsman; the procedure for applying, the rules for consideration and making conclusions on them, may have created a convenient opportunity for citizens to appeal.

The indicators below provide data on the analysis of registered written appeals by region and quarter.

Region (velayat)

I

Q

II

Q

III

Q

IV

Q

Total 

Ratio of the appeals received, %

1.

City of Ashgabat

42

37

28

40

147

41,29%

2.

Balkan

10

7

22

16

55

15,45%

3.

Dashoguz

9

16

16

19

60

16,85%

4.

Lebap

10

7

10

7

34

9,55%

5.

Mary

12

10

5

5

32

8,99%

6.

Ahal

7

9

4

7

27

7,58%

7.

From abroad 

0

0

0

1

1

0,28%

8.

Turkmenistan 

90

86

85

95

356

100,00%

It can be seen from these indicators that a significant part of the total number of written complaints, namely, 147 received by the Ombudsman’s Office from the city of Ashgabat, which is 41.29%. 55 appeals or 15.45% were registered from the Balkan velayat; Dashoguz velayat - 60 or 16.85%; Lebap velayat - 34 or 9.55%; Mary velayat - 32 or 8.99%, and the number of appeals received from the Ahal velayat is 27 or 7.58%. In addition, in the year under review, 1 complaint was received from a foreign citizen living abroad. However, due to the fact that, in accordance with Part 2 of Article 19 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the Ombudsman considers complaints of foreign citizens who are on the territory of Turkmenistan, the appeal of this citizen has not been considered, despite the fact that it was registered.

As established by Article 21 of the said Law, when addressing the Ombudsman, no privileges or limitations to applicants shall be allowed and this provision has been strictly observed. This is evidenced by the following indicators based on the findings of the analysis, reflecting the region of residence, gender and nationality of the citizens who applied.

Regions 

total

Including 

Nationality

 

Female 

 

Male 

Turkmen

Russian

Belorussian

Azerbaijani

Ukrainian

Armenian

Tatar 

Kazakh 

Georgian 

1

Ashgabat 

214

124

90

165

39

1

5

 -

1

2

 -

1

2

Balkan

148

75

73

97

30

 -

12

1

7

 -

1

 -

3

Dashoguz

120

62

58

59

4

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

57

 -

4

Lebap  

41

26

15

39

1

 -

 -

 -

 -

1

 -

 -

5

Mary 

67

46

21

66

1

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

6

Ahal  

29

16

13

28

1

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

7

From abroad

1

1

-

 -

 -

 -

 -

1

 -

 -

 -

 -

8

Turkmenistan 

620

350

270

454

76

1

17

2

8

3

58[1]

1


[1] 58 – collective repeated appeals

The above indicators show that citizens who have filed written complaints with the Ombudsman’s Office were representatives of different nationalities. According to the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, applicants shall have to right to address the Ombudsman in their native language or another language they are fluent in. The reply herewith shall be given in state language with the translation to the language the applicant is fluent in; in particular, a translation is made into the language in which the appeal was written.

Citizens turn to the Ombudsman on various issues. Consequently, the issues raised in the appeals were analyzed, which was reflected in the following indicators.

 

 

Issue

Region/velayat 

Total 

Ratio to the total No of appeals, % 

Ashgabat 

Balkan

Dashoguz

Lebap

Mary

Ahal

Abroad

1

Housing law

65

16

8

6

2

9

-

106

31,0%

2

Disagreement with court decision

11

14

-

3

9

4

1

42

12,3%

3

Execution of court decisions

2

4

-

-

-

-

-

6

1,8%

4

Migration 

5

3

-

-

2

-

-

10

2,9%

5

Labour law

2

4

4

2

2

1

-

15

4,4%

6

Land law

(lease, land plot)

-

-

10

-

3

-

-

13

3,8%

7

Right to education

-

-

1

1

2

-

-

4

1,2%

8

Guardianship

2

-

1

-

-

-

-

3

0,9%

9

Dissatisfaction with illegal actions of the law enforcement officers

12

4

4

10

3

1

-

34

9,9%

10

On criminal cases and criminal offences

4

-

3

2

2

3

-

14

4,1%

11

Pardoning 

5

1

-

1

-

-

-

7

2,0%

12

Social security

1

-

1

 

1

1

-

4

1,2%

13

Right to health

-

-

1

1

-

1

-

3

0,9%

14

Banks and banking

3

-

-

1

-

-

-

4

1,2%

15

Issues related to gas, electricity and water 

2

-

-

-

2

-

-

4

1,2%

16

Residence registration (propiska)

11

1

-

-

-

2

-

14

4,1%

17

Other issues

16

7

21

7

4

4

-

59

17,3%

 

GRAND TOTAL:

141

54

54

34

32

26

1

342

100,00%

Out of 356 written appeals received by the Ombudsman’s Office during the period under review, 14 were complaints sent by citizens repeatedly before receiving an answer to the first one and addressed the same issue. Because they were considered by combining with previously written complaints, the [repeated] issues set out in subsequent statements were not included in the above indicators. Therefore, the percentage ratio for each issue was calculated without taking into account the [repeated] issues set out in the recent appeals.

As follows from the above indicators, the main part of written appeals of citizens, as in previous years, was related to the housing issue. Their number was 106 or 30.31%; compared to 2021, this number is higher by 36 appeals. In 2021, 70 appeals or 29.7% were received from citizens on the issue of housing law. If in previous years labour issues were among the main issues in the appeals, then, as can be seen, the number of such appeals has significantly dropped over the past two years. During the year under review, 15 appeals were registered on the latter issue, which amounted to only 4.4% of the total number of appeals. 42 registered appeals of citizens concerned disagreement with court decisions, which accounted for 12.3% of the total number of appeals; 34 appeals concerned dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers, or 9.9%; 14 appeals or 4.1% were registered on criminal cases and criminal acts; 14 appeals were registered in relation to propiska/residence registration, which amounted to 4.1%; 13 registered appeals or 3.8% related to land law, 10 appeals (2.9%) were registered on migration issues; 7 registered appeals or 2.0% related to pardoning; 6 (1.8%) registered appeals concerned the issue of dissatisfaction with the execution of court decisions. There were 4 appeals registered on the right to education, social security, banking issues and issues related to gas, electricity and water, each amounted to 1.2%, 3 appeals were registered on health protection and guardianship, each amounted to 0.9%, 59 registered appeals or 17.3% related to other matters.

Other matters mainly concerned people’s dissatisfaction with the actions of heads of organizations or officials, debt or property disputes, conflicts with relatives or neighbours, clarification of legislation, lack of response to appeals from institutions and organizations, dissatisfaction with the answers provided, assistance in obtaining the necessary documents from organizations and institutions, various other issues.

When analyzing the issues, attention was paid to most of the issues that have specifically arisen in regions. For instance, the main issue in the city of Ashgabat was housing, in the Balkan, Mary velayats was disagreement with court decisions, and in the Dashoguz velayat was related to land law.

In addition, according to the findings of the analysis, it was found that in comparison with the previous year, the number and ratio of appeals on labour law, the right to health protection and migration issues decreased in the year 2022.

After receiving complaints lodged by citizens to the Office, the Ombudsman, based on the law, chooses one of three options, namely, decides to accept the appeal for handling, refuse admission or explain to the applicant about the remedies for protecting their rights and freedoms.

Appeals for which a decision was made to accept for handling were complaints, the deadlines for filing, the procedure and content of which met the requirements. After their registration and consideration in accordance with the established procedure, responses were sent to complainants.

As before, in the year under review, after a thorough study of the issues raised in the appeals, on the basis of Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the Ombudsman’s appeals were referred to the competent government authorities, including local self-governments and officials, with a request for assistance in verifying the facts indicated in the appeals. In case of agreement with the results of fact-checking, the corresponding answers were sent to the applicants.

Concurrently, during the reporting period, based on Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, recommendations of an advisory nature were issued to the relevant authorities, following which responses were sent to citizens.

Based on the questions raised by citizens in the appeals, some of them were referred for consideration by affiliation. According to the legislation of Turkmenistan, appeals by affiliation were mainly sent to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan and responses about outcomes were sent back to citizens.

As before, satisfactory decisions were taken with regard to the requests for assistance and recommendations (proposals) sent by the Ombudsman, and on the appeals sent by affiliation, some of them will be shown in detail in the chapter of the Report on the inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman.

However, complaints that did not comply with the established requirements of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ remained unaddressed, in particular, those that did not disclose the main essence of the issue; were without a signature; submitted in violation of the terms of the appeal; or on issues outside the competence of the Ombudsman.

As stipulated by the above Law, another type of complaints left unaddressed shall be repeated complaints, if they do not identify, do not indicate new circumstances or facts that differ from those indicated in the previously considered complaint. Such appeals were left without consideration.

As stipulated by Law, within no more than five days, the applicants were sent answers indicating the decision to accept or not to accept the complaint for consideration and its grounds.

Below are the indicators on the findings of the analysis by region for appeals received by the Ombudsman’s Office. In addition to the appeals accepted for processing during the reviewed period, the appeals were included that were pending at the end of 2021 and were postponed to the beginning of the year 2022.





Region 

Accepted for processing /remained from last year 

Registered this year and referred to institutions for consideration, including 

Incl. satisfied 

Responded with advice

Not considered

Including

Pending at the end of the year


No signature


Repeated 

Violation of time limits


Beyond competence

No indication of the essence of the matter


By affiliation

Article 27

Article 30


1

Ashgabat 

46 / 4

2

37

3

5

63

36

6

14

2

14

-

2


2

Balkan 

23 / 1

4

18

-

2

12

20

3

6

-

11

-

2


3

Dashoguz

19

-

19

-

4

24

11

3

3

1

4

-

-


4

Lebap

8

-

8

-

2

16

10

1

2

-

6

1

1


5

Mary

13 / 2

-

11

-

1

9

12

2

1

-

9

-

-


6

Ahal 

9 / 1

-

8

-

1

10

8

-

3

-

5

-

2


7

Turkmenistan

118/ 8

6

101

3

15

134

97

15

29

3

49

1

7


8

From abroad

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

1

-

-


Approximately for more than one third, that is for 134 or 37.6% of the 356 written appeals received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the last year, were sent recommendations explaining to citizens about legal remedies of their rights and freedoms. These were recommendations that would help applicants to act legally when solving their issues.

97 or 27.71% of the appeals received in the reporting year, were left without consideration in accordance with the norms of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, due to the fact that they were not signed; received in violation of the timeframe of the appeal; content was not stated; were repeated; were beyond the competence of the Ombudsman.

As can be seen from the above indicators, 118 appeals were accepted for processing by the Ombudsman’s Office, of which 8 remained from the previous year, 110 or 31.43% of the total number were accepted for processing in the year under review. As for 2 of them, a request was sent to a competent authority for assistance in verifying the issue raised in the citizen’s appeal, and in view of disagreement with that authority on the results of verification, the Ombudsman sent again the request to another relevant organization in order to make an accurate, correct conclusion.

Also, in 2022, 5 appeals accepted for handling remained from the last (2021) year; referring to article 27 of the Law, they were sent to the competent authorities. All appeals were considered and 1 was satisfied. Recommendations were sent to the competent authorities on 3 appeals based on article 30 of the Law, 2 of them were satisfied.

In the reporting year, 101 or 91.8% of the appeals admitted for processing, based on article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ were referred with a request for assistance in verifying the facts indicated in the appeals. Recommendations were issued to the competent authorities on 3 appeals on the basis of article 30 of the Law; in addition, 6 appeals were sent by affiliation. Therefore, out of 110 appeals, 7 remained not considered at the end of the year; out of 103 considered appeals, 15 or 14.56% were satisfied.

As a result of the review of the remaining 3 appeals from the last (2021) year at the beginning of the reporting year and 15 registered appeals in the year under review, a total of 18 appeals were satisfied. Some of the cases can be found in the chapter on ‘Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman’ of the Report.

The above indicators of the Annual Report also provide an analysis by region. For example, out of 147 appeals received in the city of Ashgabat last year, 6 were considered by combining, thus 37 or 26.2% of 141 appeals on the basis of article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, 3 on the basis of article 30 of the said Law were referred to the competent authorities, 2 by affiliation were referred to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan. Of these, 40 were reviewed and appropriate responses were received, 5 or 12.5% of appeals were satisfied, and at the end of the year 2022, 2 appeals from those sent to organizations for consideration remained pending. Out of the 55 appeals received from the Balkan velayat, 1 was considered by combining, 18 or 32.7% of the 54 appeals on the basis of article 27 of the Law were sent to the competent authorities and 4 appeals by affiliation to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan. Of these, 20 were reviewed, 2 or 10% were satisfied, 2 appeals remained pending at the end of the year 2022. Of the 60 appeals received from the Dashoguz velayat, 6 were considered by combining, of the 54 appeals, 19 or 35.2% were referred to the competent authorities on the basis of Article 27 of the Law, all of them were considered and 4 or 21.1% of the appeals were satisfied. 34 appeals were registered in the Lebap velayat, of which 8 or 23.5% were sent to the competent authorities on the basis of article 27 of the Law, of which 7 considered 2 or 28.6% were satisfied; at the end of the year 1 appeal remained pending. As for Mary velayat, 32 appeals were registered, of which 11 or 34.4% based on article 27 of the Law were referred to the competent authorities and all were considered, 1 or 9.1% of the appeals was satisfied. Out of the 27 appeals received from the Ahal velayat, 1 was considered by combining, of the 26 appeals, 8 or 30.8% were sent to the competent authorities on the basis of Article 27 of the Law, of which 6 were considered, 1 or 16.7% was satisfied, 2 appeals remained pending at the end of the year. Therefore, out of 110 appeals referred to the competent authorities and by affiliation for consideration, 103 were considered, of which 15 were satisfied, 7 remained pending at the end of the year 2022.

As noted above, after the Ombudsman accepted the received appeals for processing, requests for assistance in fact-checking or recommendations indicated in the statements were sent to the competent authorities, along with the appeals referred by affiliation. Following this, the results of consideration of appeals by organizations/institutions to which they were sent have been analyzed. Information about it is shown in the table below.

 

 

Organization/institution 

 

Referred to

 

 

Including

Deadline violated

Reminders sent

Satisfied

Pending appeals at the end of the year

By affiliationдлежности .

Art. 27.

Art.30.

Art. 27

Art. 30

1

Office of the Prosecutor General of Turkmenistan

26

-

26

-

4

2

3

2

-

2

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan 

6

-

6

-

-

-

2

-

-

3

Supreme Court of Turkmenistan

7

6

-

1

-

-

2

-

-

4

Ministry of Defence of Turkmenistan

1

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

5

State Migration Service of Turkmenistan

5

-

5

-

-

-

2

1

-

6

Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan

3

-

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

7

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan

1

-

1

-

1

1

1

-

-

8

Ministry of Healthcare and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan

4

-

4

-

1

-

-

1

-

9

Central Bank of Turkmenistan

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

10

Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

11

Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

12

Ministry of Textile Industry of Turkmenistan

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

13

Hakimlik (Municipality) of Ashgabat

20

-

18

2

7

5

2

1

-

14

Hakimlik of Balkan velayat

9

-

9

-

5

3

-

1

-

15

Hakimlik of Dashoguz velayat

10

-

10

-

4

3

2

-

-

16

Hakimlik of Lebap velayat

2

-

2

-

1

1

1

-

-

17

Hakimlik of Mary velayat

7

-

7

-

-

-

-

-

-

18

Hakimlik of Ahal velayat

5

-

5

-

3

1

-

1

-


GRAND TOTAL

110

6

101

3

27

17

15

7

-

As the table shows, out of the written appeals received by the Office of the Ombudsman and accepted for handling with the indication by the Ombudsman of the terms of their consideration, 101 appeals were sent on the basis of Article 27, 3 appeals on the basis of Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, and 6 appeals by affiliation. Out of the above 110 appeals, 7 remained pending at the end of the year; 6 were sent for consideration by affiliation and responses were received within the specified timeframe and appropriate responses were given to citizens. However, almost one third of the 97 appeals sent to the competent authorities with a request for assistance in consideration, including recommendations, that is, 27 or 27.8%, received tardy responses.

When analyzing complaints with tardy responses, it was found that out of 20 appeals sent to the hakimlik/municipality of Ashgabat, 7 were answered in violation of the deadline, for 5 of them reminder letters were sent, 1 appeal was left pending at the end of the year. Of the 9 appeals sent to the hakimlik of the Balkan velayat, 5 were answered in violation of the deadline, for 3 reminder letters were sent, 1 appeal was left pending at the end of the year, 10 appeals were sent to the hakimlik of the Dashoguz velayat, 4 were answered in violation of the deadline, for 3 reminder letters were sent. Of the 5 appeals sent to the hakimlik of the Ahal velayat, 3 were answered in violation of the deadline, for 1 a reminder letter was sent, 1 appeal was pending at the end of the year. As for the 26 appeals sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan, 3 were satisfied, 2 were pending at the end of the year, for 2 reminder letters were sent; regarding 4 appeals that were answered in violation of the deadline, it was found that their deadlines were missed due to the need for additional verification.

Thus, from the analysis of complaints that were answered late, it was found that citizens’ appeals were considered late due to the irresponsible attitude of the heads of local executive authorities, officials in charge. This led to a violation of the terms of consideration of appeals by them, and consequently, to a violation of the statutory terms of consideration of appeals by the Ombudsman.

In the reporting year, 167 oral appeals were registered during the reception of citizens in the Office of the Ombudsman and an analysis was carried out on them in the context of the regions of the country. The results of this analysis are given in the following table and charts.

Region

I

Q

II

Q

III

Q

IV

Q

Total  

Ratio to the total No of appeals, %

1.

Ashgabat

12

30

22

27

91

54,49%

2.

Balkan

0

3

5

7

15

8,98%

3.

Dashoguz 

0

3

6

3

12

7,19%

4.

Lebap

0

3

1

1

5

2,99%

5.

Mary

1

7

3

7

18

10,78%

6.

Ahal

2

7

7

10

26

15,57%

7.

Turkmenistan

15

53

44

55

167

100,00%

According to the above indicators, as in previous years, the main part of oral appeals, namely, 91 or 54.49% falls on the city of Ashgabat. One of the reasons for their large number is the location of the office of the Ombudsman’s Office in Ashgabat, which is accessible to citizens. Compared to last year, the number of oral appeals has increased, in particular, if 111 appeals were registered in 2021, then in the reporting period 2022 - 167 appeals. The increase in the number of oral appeals can be justified by the reasons mentioned above in the written appeals analysis.

Oral appeals were also analyzed by quarter and by the number of applicants.


IQ

II

Q

III

Q

IV

Q

Total 


1.

No of oral appeals

15

53

44

55

167



2.

No of applicants

18

53

46

64

181


3.

No of collective appeals

1/4

-

2/4

8/17

11/25

As can be seen from the analysis of the accepted oral appeals, 181 people applied 167 appeals during the year, of which 25 appeals were collective. An analysis of the gender and nationality of citizens was made, too. Applicants included 103 women and 78 men, who represented various nationalities. Of these, there were 138 Turkmens; 17 Russians; 7 Kazakhs; 6 Azerbaijanis; 5 Armenians; 3 Uzbeks; 2 Persians; 1 Tatar, 1 Lezgin and 1 Mordovian. In the whole, the percentage of representatives of other nationalities was 23.76%.

The analysis on national or other grounds of citizens who have applied serves as confirmation that everyone has had equal opportunities to exercise their rights, and there were no created obstacles associated with these grounds. Similar to the answers to written appeals in terms of language, oral interviews with applicants were conducted in the language they were fluent, and recommendations and explanations were provided consequently. As in previous years, during the reporting year, there were no cases when the applicants did not understand the content of the answers given by the Ombudsman’s Office in writing or orally.

Oral appeals were also analyzed by issues and by region. The figures are shown in the tables below.

 

 

Issues

 

Total

Ratio to the total number of appeals, %

1

Housing law

58

34.73%

2

Dissatisfaction with actions of law enforcement officers

18

10.78%

3

Disagreement with court decision

29

17.37%

4

Inheritance

5

2.99%

5

Labour law

9

5.39%

6

Migration

8

4.79%

7

Banks and banking

1

0.60%

8

Right to health

2

1.20%

9

Land law (lease, land plot)

5

2.99%

10

Right to education

1

0.60%

11

Military service 

1

0.60%

12

Guardianship

1

0.60%

13

Issues related to gas, electricity and water 

2

1.20%

14

Propiska/residence registration

7

4.19%

15

Other issues

20

11.98%


GRAND TOTAL:

167

100%

 

 

Issues

Region

Total

Ratio to the total No of appeals, %

Ashgabat

Balkan

Dashoguz

Lebap

Mary

Ahal

1

Housing law

34

5

4

2

3

10

58

34.73%

2

Dissatisfaction with actions of law enforcement officers

12

2

-

2

1

1

18

10.78%

3

Disagreement with court decision

15

2

-

1

5

6

29

17.37%

4

Inheritance 

3

1

-

-

-

1

5

2.99%

5

Labour law

4

-

3

1

-

1

9

5.39%

6

Migration 

4

1

-

-

3

-

8

4.79%

7

Banks and banking

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

0.60%

8

Right to health 

-

-

2

-

-

-

2

1.20%

9

Land law (lease, land plot)

2

1

1

-

1

-

5

2.99%

10

Right to education

-

-

1

-

-

-

1

0.60%

11

Military service 

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

0.60%

12

Guardianship 

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

0.60%

13

Issues related to gas, electricity and water 

2

-

-

-

-

-

2

1.20%

14

Propiska/residence registration

2

1

-

-

-

4

7

4.19%

15

Other issues

12

2

1

-

5

-

20

11.98%

 

 

GRAND TOTAL:

92

15

12

6

18

24

167

100%

As the above figures show, the main part of the oral appeals of citizens, i.e. 58 were related to the housing issue, which amounted to 34.73% of the total number of appeals, 18 were complaints about dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers or 10.78% of the total number of appeals; 29 appeals or 17.37 % of the total number were related to disagreement with judicial decisions; on inheritance issues - 5 appeals (2.99%) of the total number of appeals; on labour issues – 9 (5.39%); on migration issues - 8 (4.79%); on registration issues - 7 (4.19%); on issues related to the right to health protection, on gas, electricity and water - 2 for each (1.2%); on land law - 5 (2.99%); on military service, banking, guardianship and guardianship - 1 each, or 0.60% of the total number of appeals. The rest 20 appeals, which is equal to 11.98% of the total number of appeals concerned other issues, mainly related to citizens’ dissatisfaction with the actions of heads of institutions or officials, debt disputes, family disputes or conflicts with neighbours, and assistance in obtaining necessary documents from organizations and institutions.

When analyzing the oral appeals of citizens on the main issues arising in the regions, it was found that in the city of Ashgabat these were predominantly housing issues, dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers and disagreement with court rulings, whereas in the Balkan and Ahal velayats these were housing issues.

It was deemed appropriate to focus on the results of the analysis of the issues raised in the collective written and oral appeals of citizens in this part of the Annual Report.

Thus, most of the written collective appeals from the city of Ashgabat, in particular, 77 citizens addressed with 10 appeals: 2 of which were on housing issues, 2 appeals on disagreement with court decisions, 2 on migration issues, 1 on criminal cases and criminal acts, 3 appeals on other issues.

99 people from the Balkan velayat addressed with 6 appeals, of which 2 appeals were about disagreement with court rulings, 4 on other issues. 66 people addressed 5 appeals in Dashoguz velayat: 1 appeal was on housing issues, 1 appeal on dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers, 3 appeals on other issues. As far as the Lebap velayat was concerned, there were 9 people who addressed with 2 appeals: 1 appeal was about dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers, 1 appeal about other issues. From Mary velayat there were 4 appeals from 39 people: 3 appeals about disagreement with court rulings, 1 appeal on other issues. 3 citizens from the Ahal velayat applied with 1 appeal, their appeals related to ‘other issues’ item. Some of the collective appeals were satisfied, which can be found in the chapter on ‘Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman’ of the Report.

During the period under review, 11 oral appeals were registered, which were addressed by 25 people. For instance, from Ashgabat there were 5 appeals from 12 people: 1 out of 5 appeals was about dissatisfaction with the actions of law enforcement officers, 1 about dissatisfaction with judicial decisions, 1 was on labour law, 2 were on housing issues; in the Balkan velayat there were 2 appeals from 4 people, both appeals were related to the housing issue; in the Lebap velayat, there was 1 appeal from 2 people on the issue of disagreement with a court ruling; in the Mary velayat, 1 appeal was received from 2 people on the issue of assistance in obtaining a Turkmen passport; in the Ahal velayat, 2 appeals from 5 people: 1 appeal on disagreement with court rulings, and the second on social security.

Based on the analysis of the work carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office in the year 2022 in handling citizens’ appeals, and in order to facilitate reducing citizens’ discontent, dissatisfaction and repeated appeals; to achieve full compliance with the requirements of the legislation when considering appeals, the following is proposed:

  • the Ombudsman previously issued recommendation to organize in ministries, sectoral departments, institutions subordinate to them, local executive authorities proper effective consideration of the issues raised in the appeals in the manner and time limits established by law regardless of whether they came from citizens or competent authorities and close supervision of this. Despite this recommendation, such issues often arose during the reviewed year. Given this circumstances, it is recommended to undertake appropriate measures to eliminate this issue for the future; 
  • organize work on the prevention of violating the law, given the fact that the number of written and oral appeals mainly related to the housing issue did not decrease in the city of Ashgabat and across the country; the number of repeated appeals on the same topic increased; and in view of the fact that the city hakimlik systematically violated the law with regard to the consideration of citizens’ complaints and appeals and recommendations on them issued by competent authorities, including the Ombudsman;

in order to reduce the number of appeals related to land law in the velayats, local executive authorities should work in this direction and keep this issue under constant control.

Chapter V. Work of the Ombudsman to assist in improving the national legislation of Turkmenistan

Last year, the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, which is the basis of national legislation, was solemnly celebrated. The year was held under the motto ‘The Era of People with the Arkadag’. Significant work was done in the legislative sphere in 2022, in accordance with the norms of the Basic Law. According to the established tradition, in order to identify the key objectives of legislative activity and its main directions, the meetings of the Head of Turkmenistan with representatives of the legislative body continued. On 1 March 2022, the National Leader of the Turkmen people, the Hero Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, then the President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Milli Gengesh (People’s Council of the National Assembly) had a meeting with members of the first convocation of the Halk Maslahaty and members of the Mejlis. At the meeting, he discussed the important tasks facing parliamentarians and ways of their practical implementation.

The National Leader of the Turkmen people noted that in accordance with the adopted main directions of the country’s development for 2022-2052, there are great objectives in the field of legislative activity. They aimed at the improvement of legislation protecting human rights and freedoms, and its norms, the development of the economy, the system of social policy, science, education, culture and youth policy, digital system, and environmental protection, rational use of natural resources, modernization of the agro-industrial complex, foreign policy of Turkmenistan, local representative authorities and local self-government, electoral system.

During the past year, under the leadership of the esteemed President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, specific measures were identified aimed at the effective implementation of the transformations provided for in the Programme on the ‘Revival in a New Era of a Powerful State: The National Programme of Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052’.

In order to ensure the legislative framework for the implementation of these programmes and plans, during the reporting year, the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan consistently improved the legislative and legal framework of Turkmenistan in accordance with the contemporary requirements. For example, 52 laws were adopted during the reporting year, both new and improved laws through amendments and additions. Among the adopted new legal acts were the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On Electronic Government’, ‘On Notary and Notary activity’, ‘On Dog Breeding and Cynology activity’, ‘On State Youth Policy’ (new edition), ‘On Local Self-government’, ‘On Circus and Circus Art’.

The adoption of a new version of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan, which entered into force on 1 January 2023, should be specifically noted. The provisions of this Code have predominantly been humanized.

In addition to the above, amendments and additions were made to other existing laws during the reporting period, which demonstrated the required work done to bring the country’s national legislation into line with the current times and the implementation of international law standards into national legislation. These legal acts including the following: The Criminal Procedure Code of Turkmenistan, the Civil Procedure Code of Turkmenistan, the Code of Administrative Offences of Turkmenistan, the Tax Code of Turkmenistan, the Land Code of Turkmenistan, the Laws of Turkmenistan ‘On Military Duty and Military Service’ and ‘On Defense’, and a number of others have been improved by introducing amendments and additions. Of particular note is the adoption of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On amendments and additions to the Regulations on the Honorary Title of Turkmenistan ‘Ene Mahri (Maternity tenderness)’, since it provided additional benefits for mothers with many children awarded the honorary title of Turkmenistan ‘Ene Mahri’ and their family members.

The adopted laws were designed to fully ensure the regulatory basis for the development of various sectors, along with civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights.

Turkmenistan, having joined hundreds of international instruments, implements these standards into national legislation and effectively confirms its adherence to their implementation. Last year were adopted the laws of Turkmenistan on the ratification or accession of our state to a number of international instruments. These international instruments impact, on the one hand, the activities of our country in various fields in the international arena, and on the other hand, they have an important role to play in the protection and realization of human rights and interests.

Chapter VI of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ stipulates the work of the Ombudsman to promote the improvement of the human rights legislation of Turkmenistan. Namely, the work of the Ombudsman aims at bringing it in line with the Constitution of Turkmenistan, international agreements of Turkmenistan, universally recognized principles and norms of the international law.

During the past year, in order to perform these tasks, the Ombudsman’s Office got regularly familiarized with the draft laws developed by the Mejlis of Turkmenistan within the plan of legislative activity and submitted for consideration to the Mejlis of Turkmenistan. Relevant proposals were made on them. Also, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office as members of the Working Group established in the Mejlis of Turkmenistan on the development of the draft Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Notaries and Notarial activities’ and the draft Criminal Code of Turkmenistan, attended its meetings and actively participated in drafting and discussing a number of other laws.

The Ombudsman participated in events organized last year by the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh and in a number of meetings held to discuss draft laws developed in accordance with the comprehensive programme to improve the legal and regulatory framework.

As stated above, during the reporting period, in order to implement socio-economic and democratic transformations aimed at the development of various spheres in Turkmenistan, the system of effective national legislation was improved and replenished. This activity should be continued, and based on a systematic analysis, the relevant regulatory legal acts should be brought into line with the requirements of the laws adopted. Based on the above, and in order to promote the improvement of legislation and the proper application of legislation, the following is proposed:

  • ministries and sectoral departments (subordinate institutions), local state authorities and local self-governments should continue to work on bringing the relevant adopted regulatory legal acts into full compliance with the norms of the current legislation; 
  • ministries and sectoral departments (subordinate institutions), local state authorities and local self-governments should continue to work on the adoption of regulatory legal acts that constitute the legal grounds for their activities, in accordance with the established procedure, and state registration; 

the authorized bodies should strengthen control over the alignment by ministries and sectoral departments (subordinate institutions), local state authorities and local self-governments regulatory legal acts with the norms of current legislation. They should ensure the adoption of regulatory legal acts provided for by laws regulating the activities of these organizations and conduct an analysis of their compliance with legislation, as well as registration in accordance with the established procedure.

Chapter VI. Participation of the Ombudsman in public events. Assistance in raising awareness in the field of human rights

In accordance with the provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, assistance in raising awareness of the population in the field of human and civil rights and freedoms, as well as on the types and methods of their protection is one of the main tasks of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman performs this work through participation in various public events and fora held in the country, and by speaking at these events and in the media and publishing materials.

In the reporting year, as in previous years, the Ombudsman participated in public events, continued to promote raising awareness of the population on human rights. Various activities were held during the past year to mark significant dates, positive broad-scale successes achieved over the years of independence, and events of international significance. The Ombudsman, along with the performance of her official duties, took an active part in these activities. During the year, she also carried out the activities provided for in the approved Work Plan of the Ombudsman’s Office for 2022 aimed at promoting public awareness in the field of human rights.

It is necessary to focus herewith on the participation of the Ombudsman in significant events held regularly over the past year. In particular, the Ombudsman took part in the meetings of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan held last year, following the tradition of discussing issues of national significance with the people.

The Ombudsman participated in all the meetings of the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan of the sixth convocation, held over the past year in accordance with the law-making plan. At the seventeenth meeting, the Ombudsman, following the provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ and the agenda of the meeting, made a report on the work done in 2021 and the human rights situation. It should be especially noted that at the same meeting, the Ombudsman was re-elected for a new term.

Since five-year term expired from the date of the election of the first Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, in accordance with relevant norms of the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the election of the Ombudsman for a new term has taken place.

The Ombudsman also took part in all the meetings of the Interagency Commission on Ensuring the Implementation of Turkmenistan’s International Human rights obligations and International Humanitarian Law held last year. During these meetings, she articulated her opinion and proposals on various issues high on the agenda regarding the ensuring human rights and freedoms and drafts of some documents.

Last year, Turkmenistan chaired the Dialogue of Women of Central Asian Countries, which operates as an effective mechanism in strengthening the role of Central Asian women in socio-economic and political activities. Two Dialogue fora were held during the year. The forum of Central Asian countries and the Russian Federation on ‘The Role of Women in Socio-political and Socio-Economic Development’ was held in Ashgabat in May 2022. The final forum of the Dialogue of Women of Central Asian countries was held in Ashgabat on the eve of the International Day of Neutrality and the 27th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s acquisition of the status of permanent neutrality. The Ombudsman took part in both important Dialogue fora.

As noted above, the Ombudsman and the staff of the Ombudsman’s Office took an active part in other fora, in celebrations and holidays dedicated to significant dates in the country’s life and held in the year 2022, which was full of historical events.

One of the events of international significance was the international conference on ‘The Dialogue - Guarantee of Peace’ held in December last year in honour of the International Day of Neutrality and the 27th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s acquisition of the status of permanent neutrality. The Ombudsman and the staff participated in the forum and in separate panels.

The staff of the Office also took an active part in fora on human rights issues organized in national higher educational institutions, including on gender equality. These included the Conference on ‘The Flag of the country is our pride, the Basic Law is the strength of our era’, organized by the Turkmen State University named after Magtymguly (TSU) in honour of the 31st anniversary of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Constitution Day and the State Flag of Turkmenistan; the Conference on the ‘Constitutional Guarantee of Gender Equality in the Era of the People with the Arkadag’, organized by the TSU Women’s Organization on the Law Faculty. Representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office also participated in other events dedicated to important issues of our time, in particular, a seminar organized in July with the participation of representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, a workshop on National reporting on Sustainable Development Goals, and seminars organized by the relevant structures of the ILO in May and November last year on reviews of legislation of Turkmenistan, on the issues of eradication of forced labour and the prohibition of child labour.

In addition, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office, being members of working groups of ministries and sectoral departments, participated in meetings of the relevant working groups and articulated their opinion on the issues under consideration, prepared documents on human rights, including taking into account universally accepted norms of international law. Participation in the meetings of the working groups of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan on drafting laws; working groups of the Interagency Commission on ensuring compliance with Turkmenistan’s international human rights obligations and international humanitarian law; working groups of some ministries and sectoral departments on the review and preparation of documents on relevant issues could be given as an example.

Consistent work was carried out on the tasks provided for in the Ombudsman’s Annual Work Plan to raise awareness of the population in the field of human rights. Basically, in order to comply with the provisions on the publicity of the Ombudsman’s activities, according to the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, materials were posted on the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office on human rights protection, which were updated daily on the Ombudsman's website (www.ombudsman.gov.tm ). Concurrently, the site provided an opportunity to familiarize readers with the norms of national and international legislation regulating human rights issues.

Similarly, through publications in the mass media, speeches and articles by the Ombudsman and staff members about the democratic development of Turkmenistan, the work being carried out in the country to protect and ensure human and civil rights and freedoms, events related to the life of the state were made public.

For example, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the Ombudsman’s Office, a specially prepared TV programme was broadcast on the Altyn Asyr TV channel with the following topics: ‘Active co-operation of our country with international organizations’, ‘The procedure of the Ombudsman’s handling of appeals and complaints and their analysis’, ‘The civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights’. During the programme, an overview of the work of the Ombudsman and the Office during five years from the introduction of the institution and election to the post was presented. In addition, a programme on ‘Activities of the Ombudsman’s Office’ was presented to viewers on the TV channel ‘Turkmenistan’.

The Ombudsman’s articles were published in various newspapers, clearly demonstrating the mechanisms of protection of human rights and freedoms in Turkmenistan, the multifaceted activities carried out in the country for the triumph of democratic values, the nature of reforms and democratic transformations. At the same time, the newspaper ‘Turkmenistan’ published articles of the Ombudsman on ‘Constitutional foundations of human rights and freedoms’ and ‘A happy future for children is a guarantee of a bright future’. Readers of the newspaper ‘Нейтральный Туркменистан’ (Neutral Turkmenistan) were presented with a joint interview of the Ombudsman and the UNICEF Deputy Representative Alexandru Nartea on ‘Working together for every child’s benefit’, dedicated to the International Day for Protection of Children and highlighting the challenges and potential of co-operation in the field of children’s rights, the efforts being made in this direction.

A number of articles by representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office about festive events celebrated in all corners of the country, great successes attained and important socio-political events, the activities carried out in the state on protection of human rights and freedoms were published in newspapers ‘Turkmenistan’, ‘Нейтральный Туркменистан’ (Neutral Turkmenistan), ‘Adalat’ (Justice), ‘Watan’ (Fatherland) ‘Aşgabat’ (Ashgabat), thereby informing the readers about various areas of human rights. As an example, a constant work on human rights protection in the country in the past year should be mentioned. Such articles, as ‘Human rights are ensured’, ‘Development of human rights in the country over the years of independence’; on the protection of children’s rights and the care for children taken in the country: ‘Happy childhood is the country’s heritage’, ‘The Land of happy childhood’ were published. The publications included, among others, materials on the content of the new version of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’: ‘In the name of the creators of the future’, ‘Happy owners of a bright future’, ‘The pledge of high trust’. The articles dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Turkmenistan included ‘The Basic Law is the guarantor of human rights’, ‘The country of cultural values’.

Based on the participation of the Ombudsman in public events in the reporting year, the activities carried out on awareness raising among the public about the ongoing reforms to protect human rights in our country, the following conclusion was made. In order to work consistently and comprehensively to enhance awareness, knowledge and legal culture of the population, including among responsible officials, and in support of the recommendations issued in previous years, the following is recommended:

  • prepare and submit for approval a draft unified State Programme as specified by the established procedure, providing for specific measures for joint implementation by ministries, sectoral departments, velayat, etrap, city hakimliks, law enforcement agencies, mass media, public organizations for the purpose of systematic, concerted and integrated implementation of activities to raise legal human rights awareness, knowledge and legal culture of the public, responsible officials, civil servants;

study international best practices in the development of such a State Programme and the outcomes of the implementation of the Programme.

Chapter VII. International co-operation

During the reporting year, Turkmenistan, as in previous years, actively took a stance in the international community in consolidating efforts to develop balanced solutions to modern issues affecting human and civil rights and freedoms. The key vectors of the foreign policy of our country were outlined in the ‘Concept of the Foreign Policy course of Neutral Turkmenistan for 2022-2028’ adopted last year, which was focused on promoting universal sustainable development and humanization of international relations.

According to the Concept, constructive co-operation of Turkmenistan in the international arena is aimed at achieving such key goals as ensuring universal peace and security, practical implementation of the legal status of permanent neutrality of the country. It also attaches great importance to co-operation with reputable international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, European Union, Economic Co-operation Organization and others.

Jointly completed projects and projects underway in various fields, and a number of resolutions of the UNGA prepared and adopted on the initiative of Turkmenistan objectively demonstrates the development of Turkmenistan’s successful partnership with the UN and its agencies. One of these is the resolution ‘2023 - the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace’, unanimously adopted on 6 December 2022 during the 45th plenary session of the 77th session of the UNGA and co-sponsored by 68 UN Member States.

Strengthening of friendship and co-operation relations with foreign states is consistently among the priority vectors of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy. In this regard, it should be noted that 2022 was marked by the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and a number of states.

Speaking about national human rights institutions in the context of international co-operation, according to the Paris Principles, cooperation with international organizations and the national institutions of other countries that are competent in the areas of the protection and promotion of human rights is one of the important functions of NHRIs.

According to the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the promotion of international co-operation on human rights, the study and implementation of international standards, the implementation of Turkmenistan’s international obligations to protect human rights and freedoms and strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between nations is one of the main activities of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan.

The Annual Work Plan for 2022 stipulated in a separate chapter international co-operation, as one of the important areas of the Ombudsman’s work and it was implemented.

In this regard, the work of the Ombudsman conducted within the function of promoting international co-operation on human rights during the reporting year and meetings with heads of international organizations and NHRIs of foreign countries will be highlighted farther.

The last reporting year began with a meeting of the Ombudsman with the newly appointed Mr. Mohammad Fayyazi, Representative of UNICEF in Turkmenistan. During the meeting, the leaders underlined the close co-operation of the Ombudsman’s Office and UNICEF over the past years. They discussed the prospects for further co-operation, taking into account the priorities in the best interests of children and the tasks set in the National Action Plan for the Implementation of Children’s Rights in Turkmenistan for 2018-2022 and the approved Work Plan for 2022. According to the Work Plan for 2022, a number of measures were envisaged to increase co-operation, along with joint activities to ensure a prosperous life for children and respect for their rights.

Meeting of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with the Mr. Mohammad Fayyazi, Representative of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Turkmenistan 

One of such activity was the joint visit of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Deputy Representative of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan to the Rehabilitation Educational Complex of the city of Ashgabat in May last year. In this complex, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Turkmenistan got acquainted with the special approach used by qualified teachers and medical professionals to children with disabilities of various groups. They were guided by the best international practice applied in the treatment rooms of the complex, equipped with all the necessary equipment, cutting-edge technologies, and with the created opportunities to make every child comfortable. The construction and commissioning of a number of such complexes in Ashgabat and in the velayats of the country is an eloquent evidence that every child in our country is surrounded by the care of the state.

Protection of children’s rights, raising awareness of the population and children about their rights is one of the main work of the Ombudsman. In this regard, in honour of 1 June, the International Day for Protection of Children, a joint interview of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Turkmenistan, Alexandru Nartea, was published in the newspaper ‘Нейтральный Туркменистан’ (Neutral Turkmenistan) on 31 May 2022. It was dedicated to the work carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office to monitor and assist in the realization of children’s rights. During the interview, the Ombudsman shared examples of fruitful co-operation between the Ombudsman’s Office and UNICEF in Turkmenistan.

As part of the above-mentioned plan, the Ombudsman’s Office met with representatives of the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia in order to study the foreign best practices of the relevant unit for the protection of children’s rights of independent human rights institutions. At the meeting, representatives of the Public Defender of Georgia, Ekaterina Skhiladze, Ketevan Sokhadze, and international expert George Tugushi discussed legislation on the protection and development of children’s rights in Georgia; the work carried out by the Office of the Public Defender; types of appeals of children and their organized consideration; presented the main functions and best practices of the relevant units.

A joint event held to coincide with another significant date, 20 November - World Children’s Day can be given as an example of fruitful co-operation between the Ombudsman’s Office and UNICEF in Turkmenistan. The event was held in the UN building in Ashgabat with the participation of key ministries and agencies of the country, public organizations, the diplomatic corps, and the media. The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan, Mr. Mohammad Fayyazi, opened the event with a welcoming speech, followed by the report of representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office on ‘The Role of the Ombudsman for the protection and observance of the rights of the child’.

This was followed by presentations on the main achievements and plans of the ministries and agencies concerned in the relevant areas of child protection, including social protection, improvement of national legislation on the rights of the child. The purpose of the event was the exchange of experience and major achievements on child rights, and informing the public about the scaled-up work carried out in this area.

A joint seminar of the Office of the Ombudsman and the UNICEF in Turkmenistan, dedicated to 20 November - World Children’s Day

Over the past year, representatives of the Ombudsman's Office have participated in numerous other meetings, workshops, seminars and ‘round tables’ organized by the UNICEF in Turkmenistan on such important issues as discussing assistance in developing a national Concept to strengthen the child protection system; working meetings to discuss Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, focused on children's rights; training for members of Parliament on the protection of the rights of children and persons with disabilities in Turkmenistan; a ‘Round table’ to discuss the conclusions of the review of legislation on the prohibition of corporal punishment of children and international experience in this area; a national consultation on the preparation of a National Action Plan for the Realization of Children’s Rights in Turkmenistan for 2023-2028.

The last reporting year was busy with the meetings of the Ombudsman with the heads of UN agencies in Turkmenistan and in the region. In particular, during the past year, apart from meetings during participation in events, three separate bilateral meetings of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan were held with the Head of the Regional Office of the UN OHCHR in Central Asia, Mr. Ryszard Komenda, as one of the important and main partners.

During these meetings in 2022, a number of issues of joint co-operation were discussed. They included the partnership with the Asia-Pacific Forum (APF), participation in the preparation of national reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, human rights education and capacity building of the Ombudsman’s Office.

On 20 July 2022, during one of the visits of the Head of the Regional Office of the UN OHCHR to Turkmenistan, a joint meeting of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with a number of heads of UN agencies in Turkmenistan was held at the UN building in Ashgabat. The UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, the Regional Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Central Asia, the UNDP Permanent Representative in Turkmenistan, the UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan, Head of the UNFPA Office in Turkmenistan and UNODC Programme Coordinator in Turkmenistan participated in the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and coordinate actions to enhance co-operation between the Ombudsman’s Office and UN partners on protection of human rights towards the implementation of the global 2030 Agenda on SDGs.

Meeting of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with the heads of UN agencies in Turkmenistan

At this meeting, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan discussed in detail the results achieved during the functioning of the Ombudsman institution, as well as on the further stages of its development and capacity building.

During the past year, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan took part in meetings of members of the national Steering Committee established within the Sustainable Development Co-operation Framework for 2021-2025 between Turkmenistan and the United Nations. The Ombudsman participated in the meetings of the Interagency Commission on Ensuring Compliance with Turkmenistan’s International Human Rights Obligations and International Humanitarian Law, where a number of human rights issues were discussed.

In March 2022, the annual political consultations between Turkmenistan and the USA continued their work in the videoconference format. The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan attended the event. Speaking at this event, during the discussion of the human dimension issues, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan informed about the work carried out by the Office, and highlighted other important human rights issues.

In the course of the past year, the main activities to increase the capacity of the Ombudsman’s Office were carried out within the framework of the project on ‘Improving the institutional capacity of the Ombudsman’s Office of Turkmenistan’, signed between the Ombudsman’s Office and the UNDP in Turkmenistan for 2021-2022.

On 16-17 June 2022, a two-day workshop was held for the staff of the Office in a hybrid format, which was attended by the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan. During the meeting, the UNDP international expert Mr. George Tugushi reviewed international practice of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) on handling complaints, shared positive examples of organizational and regulatory aspects of regulating the NHRIs activities to improve their effectiveness. The parties also discussed the relevant provisions of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ on complaints. In the end of the meeting, the expert adequately assessed the norms of the law in terms of compliance with the Paris Principles; the work practice of the Ombudsman’s Office; and the successes it has achieved over a relatively short period of its operation, and gave recommendations for further improvement of its activities.

The capacity assessment of the Ombudsman’s Office of Turkmenistan by a group of experts from the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF, NHRIs), OHCHR and UNDP, within the framework of the project on ‘Improving the institutional capacity of the Ombudsman’s Office of Turkmenistan’ rendered a landmark of international significance in the work of the Ombudsman’s Office in the past year. The preparation for the capacity assessment began with an introductory meeting held in a hybrid format in the Ombudsman’s Office in April last year.

The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, the UNDP Permanent Representative in Turkmenistan, Ms. Narine Sahakyan, representatives of the UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul and the UN OHCHR in Bishkek, a member of the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia - an independent expert, Ms. Narantuya Ganbat, and experts from the APF, NHRIs Ms. Rosslyn Noonan and Ms. Pip Dargan attended the meeting. During the meeting, the participants got acquainted with the methodology for assessing the capacity of the Ombudsman’s Office, further planned activities, and discussed a number of issues in this respect.

According to the plan, on 13 July 2022, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Asia-Pacific Forum (APF) signed an Agreement of Understanding, following which the capacity assessment of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan was to take place from 4 to 14 October 2022.

Further, from 26 to 28 July 2022, preliminary meetings were held online with a special Capacity Assessment (CA) team. The special CA team comprised experts from the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), represented by Ms. Rosslyn Noonan, Ms. Pip Dargan, Mr. Ahmed Shahid and Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia - independent expert Ms. Narantuya Ganbat, representatives of the Regional UNDP Hub in Istanbul and the Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) UN for Central Asia.

Online meetings of the special APF Capacity Assessment Team with the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan were held during three days to discuss organizational issues of the upcoming visit of the team, a briefing for representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office, and a separate briefing for members of the Mejlis of Milli Gengesh, representatives of the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice of Turkmenistan and public organizations to familiarize participants with the aim and objectives of the capacity assessment of the NHRI of the country.

From October 4 to 14 October 2022, as was planned, the APF capacity assessment team visited the country. During their visit, bilateral meetings were held with Deputy Chairpersons, representatives of the committees of the Halk Maslahaty and Mejlis of Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan (Parliament), Deputy Chairperson of the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan, Deputy Prosecutor General, Deputy Hakims (mayors) of the city of Ashgabat and Ahal velayat, Deputy ministers and heads of units of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Migration Service and the State Customs Service and others.

Meeting of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with the Capacity Assessment Team 

A capacity assessment APF team also visited the Balkan velayat, where they met with the Deputy Hakim (mayor) of the velayat, representatives of the hakimlik of city of Turkmenbashy, and held separate meetings with local representatives of various public organizations, such as the Union of Women of Turkmenistan, the Magtymguly Youth Organization, the Central Physical Culture and Sports Club of Turkmenistan for the Disabled people, the Society of the Blind and Deaf of Turkmenistan, National Red Crescent Society.

The team members conducted meetings and interviews with the staff of the Ombudsman’s Office on a specially assigned day. In accordance with the CA methodology, a questionnaire-based survey of employees was also conducted based on the results of the meetings.

The capacity assessment of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan by a special team resulted in the first draft document of the Capacity Assessment Report with recommendations in December last year. The Strategic Plan to be developed based on the outcomes of this assessment will have a positive impact on the further improvement of the activities of the Ombudsman’s and will facilitate the application for accreditation of the Ombudsman’s Office of Turkmenistan to the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).

According to the Paris Principles, close ties and co-operation should also be maintained, in addition to international organizations, with NHRIs of other countries. It is one of the most important function of NHRIs. In the reporting year, the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan actively co-operated with neighbouring countries from Central Asia and beyond. As an example, the participation of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan in the First Forum of Central Asian Ombudsmen in June 2022 in Tashkent, organized by the Secretariat of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman) can be given. A bilateral Memorandum ‘On co-operation between the Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan - the Ombudsman and the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman)’ was signed at the Forum.

Signing of the Memorandum ‘On cooperation between the Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan - the Ombudsman and the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman)

During the Forum, participants discussed the co-operation between the Ombudsmen of Central Asian countries, consolidation of efforts and opportunities in the field of human rights protection, including women, children and persons with disabilities, the use of digital technologies, and ensuring the rights of persons held in places of deprivation of liberty.

The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, speaking at the Forum, noted that the holding of this international event, the signing of bilateral Memoranda of Co-operation and the adoption of the Tashkent Declaration as a final document clearly shows a high degree of mutual understanding in identifying the goals and objectives of joint co-operation of the Ombudsmen of Central Asian states. The Ombudsman of Turkmenistan also presented a report at the second session of the Forum on ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities in our country, on the conditions created for them and on the work carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office in this area.

The First Forum of Central Asian Ombudsmen resulted in the adoption of the Tashkent Declaration.

Further, within the framework of a working visit to Uzbekistan, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan got acquainted with the experience of Uzbekistan in creating regional representative offices of the Secretariat of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman). In particular, as part of the delegation, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan got acquainted on the spot with the organization of work of the Regional Representative of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman) in the Samarkand region.

During the visit of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan to the Samarkand region, the organizational aspects of the People’s Reception Room of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the Samarkand region for working with the population with oral appeals and their handling were demonstrated.

A general meeting was held with the Commissioner under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Protection of the Rights and Legitimate Interests of Business entities (Business Ombudsman), during which members of the delegation discussed a number of issues and exchanged views.

Meeting of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with the Children’s Ombudsman of the Republic of Uzbekistan Aliya Yunusova

During the study visit, the best practice of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the creation and organization of a number of institutions for the protection of human rights was studied.

Within the framework of the visit of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan, a meeting was held with the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for the Rights of the Child (Children’s Ombudsman) Aliya Yunusova. During the meeting, the parties exchanged views and shared the

experience in protecting children’s rights, monitoring the activities of institutions implementing their rights, working with public organizations, as well as international co-operation. It was also noted that the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan has begun work on drafting an Alternative Report for submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Children’s Ombudsman Aliya Yunusova also shared Uzbekistan’s experience of creating a separate institution of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights and the subsequent organization of its work. The Institute of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for the Rights of the Child (Children’s Ombudsman) was officially established in Uzbekistan in 2021. This was provided for by the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan ‘On measures to further improve the system of ensuring guarantees of the rights of the child’.

On 1 July 2022, the Ombudsmen of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also held a separate meeting in the building of the Secretariat of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of Uzbekistan. During the meeting, the Ombudsmen discussed the main activities of the national human rights institutions of each country, the mandate and organization of their offices. The co-operation of the NHRIs with government agencies, civil society, national and international partners was also discussed.

The Ombudsman of Uzbekistan Feruza Eshmatova also shared the experience of the Secretariat of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman) to obtain accreditation in the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). At the end of the meeting, the Ombudsmen expressed their intention to intensify co-operation between institutions on the international platform.

Meeting of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with the Ombudsman of the Republic of Uzbekistan Feruza Eshmatova

During 2022, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan also participated online at the important regional fora and conferences dedicated to the date of the establishment of national institutions of countries, such as the International Scientific and Practical Conference on ‘The Role of the Ombudsman Institute in the protection of human rights’, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Ombudsman (Akyykatchy) Institute of the Kyrgyz Republic; Baku International Conference of Ombudsmen and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) on ‘The Role of Ombudsmen and National Human Rights institutions in addressing business and human rights issues’, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan; International Conference on ‘Human rights and legitimate interests - the highest value of the state and society’ dedicated to the 27th anniversary of the Institute of the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights in Uzbekistan.

The Regional Workshop organized within the framework of the Regional Initiative to Support National Human Rights Institutions in Central Asia (CASI/NHRI) held on 21-22 November 2022 in Istanbul and attended by Ombudsmen and representatives of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), national partners represented by parliaments, commissions on human rights of Central Asian countries gave a new impetus to regional NHRIs co-operation.

Regional workshop within the framework of the Regional Initiative to Support National Human Rights Institutions in Central Asia (CASI/NHRI)

Within the framework of the workshop, Ombudsmen and parliamentarians from five countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan discussed priority areas relevant to NHRIs, including accreditation in the Global Alliance of NHRIs and involvement in UN human rights mechanisms. The priority topics discussed included the role of NHRIs in promoting and protecting human rights in the face of emerging regional challenges, such as conflicts, climate change and violations of human rights as a result of doing business.

In the reporting year, the exchange of experience with the offices of the Ombudsmen of the OSCE participating States also continued. For example, within the framework of the project of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat on ‘Support in developing the capacity of the Ombudsman’s Office’, in July of the reporting year, an exchange of views between the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Office of the People’s Advocate of Moldova took place online. The meeting was dedicated to the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in protecting women’s rights and promoting gender equality. It was held with the participation of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the People’s Advocate (Ombudsman) of Moldova Ceslav Panico, and their staff. During the exchange of views, the participants discussed legal instruments and mechanisms for the protection of women’s rights and the promotion of gender equality, along with the topics such as the role of the Office of the People’s Advocate in the protection and promotion of human rights in the Republic of Moldova and strengthening co-operation between NHRIs, government agencies and civil society.

In July, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan participated and spoke at a conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of co-operation between Turkmenistan and the OSCE. At the conference, the participants of the meeting heard presentations on successful projects of co-operation between the OSCE and Turkmenistan in the politico-military, economic-environmental and human dimensions, presented by participants from national institutions, ministries and agencies of the country, and representatives of OSCE structural units.

Over the past year, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office have actively participated in workshops organized by the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, such as ‘Strengthening the criminal justice

Online meeting of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan and the Office of the People’s Advocate of Moldova

sector in response to hate crimes’, ‘Challenges related to the rule of law and best practices in OSCE Participating States’, ‘Assistance in implementing the provisions of the National Human Rights Action Plan for 2021-2025 (NHRAP) concerning freedom of the media and freedom of expression’, ‘Improving the laws of practice, protecting freedom of opinion and expression’.

In November of the reporting year, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan participated as an observer via videoconference and addressed the VII meeting of the Eurasian Alliance of Ombudsmen on the topic ‘Legal education on human rights and freedoms as an area of human rights activity’, organized by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation. At the meeting, the participants discussed the problems of employment, issues of migration, youth policy, and legal education as an area of human rights activities. The topics of human rights education in schools and higher educational institutions, public awareness on human rights issues were touched upon. At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants stressed that the concerted efforts of human rights protection institutions contribute to more effective implementation of activities for human rights education and awareness.

VII session of the Eurasian Alliance of Ombudsmen, on the topic ‘Legal education on human rights and freedoms as an area of human rights activity

This was followed by the VI International Scientific and Practical Conference on the ‘Issues of human rights protection in the Eurasian space: Exchange of best practices of Ombudsmen’, at which the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan also took part online. The main topic of the conference was related to youth policy and the challenges in protecting the rights of young people in the field of education, employment, political, entrepreneurial, volunteer and other spheres of public activity, support for socially vulnerable young citizens.

Ombudsman of Turkmenistan Yazdursun Gurbannazarova made a presentation at this conference on ‘The Youth Participation in the Development and Implementation of Youth Policy’. In her speech, the Ombudsman underlined that Turkmenistan pays special attention to improving legislation on youth policy, social protection of youth, as evidenced by the adoption of a new version of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’, ‘State Programme on State Youth Policy of Turkmenistan for 2021-2025’ and a number of other documents. It was underscored that extensive development opportunities have been created for young citizens in our country.

At the end of November 2022, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan took part in the next round of the Turkmenistan-EU Human Rights Dialogue, which was held in Ashgabat. During the dialogue, the Ombudsman presented the main achievements and tasks of the Ombudsman Institute, co-operation with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and European partners. The parties also discussed a broad range of issues related to the implementation of Turkmenistan’s international human rights obligations and international humanitarian law. Such issues as the rule of law and judicial reforms, economic, social and cultural rights, co-operation with international organizations within multilateral formats and platforms were high on the agenda.

In the reporting year, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan also had meetings with the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Turkmenistan, Michael Uwe Bierhoff, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Turkmenistan, Lucia Wilde. During the meetings, the ambassadors were familiarized with the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office, and the legislative norms governing its activities.

On 29 November 2022, a ‘Round table’ was held for some members of the Interagency Commission on the Implementation of Turkmenistan’s International Human Rights Obligations and International Humanitarian Law about the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, organized by the ROCA/OHCHR, which was attended by the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan. Following which, on 30 November a ‘Round table’ was held for the Working Group of the Commission. Representatives of OHCHR who were on a visit to Turkmenistan - the OHCHR Deputy Regional Representative, Mr. Fabio Piana, the OHCHR Human Rights Adviser, Mr. Artur Iatsevych, the head of the Asia-Pacific Regional Group for the Prevention of Torture, Mr. Nika Kvaratskhelia participated in the meetings. During the events, the OHCHR specialists presented to the participants an overview of the International human rights system in the context of combating torture, and shared international experience in the ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

In last November, the Ombudsman also took part online in the international forum on ‘Ensuring Children's Rights to a Healthy Environment’ organized jointly by the Zamin International Public Foundation and the UNICEF.

On 5-6 December the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan participated in the Global Forum on ‘Human Rights Education’ held in the city of Samarkand, under the auspices of the National Centre for

Human Rights in Uzbekistan and the UN OHCHR. International experts, specialists, representatives of government authorities of Uzbekistan, specialized educational institutions, civil society, and high-ranking officials, leading foreign human rights defenders and professors from more than 30 countries participated in the forum.

The plenary sessions discussed achievements and current challenges in the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, principles and approaches to achieve effective human rights education. During the discussions, the participants actively exchanged information on best practices, as well as on existing materials, institutions and programmes of various countries within the Declaration. The audience was presented with master classes on the teaching of human rights in law higher educational institutions of Uzbekistan, conducted by leading professors on human rights from various universities around the world. At the end of the forum, the final document on the ‘Samarkand Action Plan for the Promotion of Human Rights Education’ for 2023-2025 was adopted.

In addition to these events, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office took part in many other events related to human rights and freedoms.

For example, at the beginning of last year, a representative of the Ombudsman’s Office attended the Forum of Public Organizations of Turkmenistan, organized annually by the public organization ‘Yenme’. During the event, public organizations shared the results of their work in the past years, successful experience in maintaining co-operation with government agencies and the business community. The aim of this forum was to develop a model of interagency relations, promote civil, social, environmental, economic proposals and raise public awareness in the areas of civil society development.

A joint working meeting of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Interagency Working Group of Turkmenistan on the implementation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Legal Migration took place in January 2022. A representative of the Ombudsman’s Office participated in the online meeting. The key topic of the meeting was to discuss preparations at the national level to the International Review Forum on the Implementation of the Global Compact, which was held at the UN headquarters in New York in May 2022.

During the year, representatives of the Ombudsman’s took part in meetings of the Working Group on the SDG Implementation in Turkmenistan. During such meetings, issues related to the preparation for the Second Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Turkmenistan, and the development of nationalized SDG indicators, were discussed. Information on the progress in the implementation of certain SDG indicators was provided, relevant recommendations were issued and proposals of the parties were given during the meetings,

From 14 to 17 February 2022 representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office took part in the APF regional online workshop on the accreditation of national human rights institutions. During the workshop, the participants discussed issues related to the rules and procedures for the accreditation of NHRIs, shared their experience and best practices in this area, and participated in the ‘practical session’ in groups and subsequent plenary discussions.

In November, a representative of the Ombudsman’s took part online and spoke during an Expanded dialogue on ‘Women and Girls at Risk in Central Asia: Addressing the root causes of violence and supporting victims’, organized by the Parliament, the Office of the Ombudsman in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the UN Women in Kazakhstan. The objective of the event was to exchange experience, develop proposals and recommendations of NHRIs representatives of Central Asian states, representatives of government authorities, civil society activists, on joint actions to prevent violence and provide support to victims.

At the end of November, a representative of the Ombudsman’s Office attended a regional training conference on the ‘Monitoring of detention and protection of human rights in the context of preventing and countering violent extremism’ held in Bishkek. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) organized the event that aimed to raise awareness of human rights and improve the regional penitentiary system based on best international practice and standards.

At the beginning of December 2022, within the joint project of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan with UNDP in Turkmenistan on ‘Improving the institutional capacity of the Office of the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan’, an online workshop on ‘Principles of Co-operation of NHRIs with law enforcement agencies’ was held in an online format at the UN building in Ashgabat. Staff of the country’s law enforcement agencies, including their velayat administrations, bar associations of the city of Ashgabat and velayats attended the workshop. The participants got acquainted with relevant international standards and principles, their legal awareness increased, and important aspects and areas of interaction with NHRIs were productively discussed.

In December of the reporting year, the staff of the Ombudsman’s Office took part in a training workshop on gender equality conducted by the UNFPA international expert Lori Mann. As a result of the two-day event, the staff of the Ombudsman’s Office raised its awareness on the world’s best practices on gender equality.

In addition to the above, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office took part in 6 meetings of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to discuss the draft Regulations of the CIS Commission on Human Rights and expressed their opinions on the elaborated draft document.

As can be observed from the information provided in this section, in 2022, the Ombudsman’s Office was actively engaged in interaction with international organizations and national human rights bodies, which in turn contributed to building up its own capacity as an independent NHRI, and strengthening further co-operation with international partners on human and civil rights and freedoms.

Turkmenistan’s foreign policy is known to be aimed at fruitful productive co-operation with international organizations and at universal sustainable development, which our country consistently effectively demonstrates; the implementation of specific measures to fulfill international human rights obligations. Below are the recommendations in order to further ensure the fulfilment of the country’s international human rights obligations:

  • ministries and agencies to take the necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the UN treaty bodies accepted by Turkmenistan;

to study the possibility of joining new international human rights instruments.

Chapter VIII. Inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman

In accordance with Article 19 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, in order to ensure safeguards of state protection of human and civil rights and freedoms, their observance and respect by state authorities, local self-government bodies and their officials, the main functions of the Ombudsman, who is the Authorized Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan include the observance of human and civil rights and freedoms, assistance in restoring their violated rights and freedoms, and, in accordance with Article 18 of the said Law, consideration of their appeals to the actions and decisions of officials and organizations related to the violation of their rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, other normative legal acts and international treaties of Turkmenistan.

In accordance with Article 27 of the said Law, the Ombudsman, within the limits of his/her competence, has the right to seek assistance in verifying complaints accepted for processing from competent state authorities, local self-government bodies and officials, and when establishing the fact of violation of human and civil rights and freedoms on the basis of Article 30, to send to an enterprise, institution, organization or to the officials who violated them, a recommendation with a suggestion to take the necessary measures for their immediate restoration.

This chapter of the report will focus on the inquiries and recommendations sent in accordance with Article 27 and in accordance with Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’.

Therefore, this chapter will highlight some cases that were satisfied as a result of inspections conducted during the reporting year; on 101 appeals referred by the Ombudsman, 3 recommendations issued and 6 complaints by affiliation.

For example, despite the fact that the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Housing Code of Turkmenistan and other regulatory and legal acts guarantee the right of citizens to purchase housing, reside in purchased houses and other rights, during the inspections, situations were revealed of forced appeal of some people to various institutions, including the Ombudsman’s, in connection with violation of their housing rights.

Thus, taking into account the rights provided for by the Housing Code of Turkmenistan, as well as a large number of family members, including minor children in need of housing, the appeals of the women for assistance in providing housing were in the focus of the Ombudsman’s close attention. As a result of the work carried out on them, some of the complaints were satisfied.

For example, a complaint was registered by a resident of the city of Ashgabat, Sh.R., registered in the house of her husband’s parents. Due to the impossibility for the large number of people to reside in the parents’ house, she, her spouse, and nine children lived in a one-room apartment of her company-owned dormitory. The appeal stated that since 2015, she has been on the waiting list for a land plot and housing, however, because the queue was not moving forward, it was impossible to provide her with housing. In this context, the applicant, who was in need of housing, asked for facilitation in resolving her problem. The Ombudsman verified the facts cited by Sh.R., in particular, during the visit to the place of residence, the housing conditions were studied and, having justified her request with reference to Article 30 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the Ombudsman sent a recommendation to the hakimlik of the city of Ashgabat. The response from the hakimlik stated that the complaint of Sh.R. was satisfied, her family has been allocated a three-room apartment in the house No. ... on A.Berdiyev street, Ashgabat, and the relevant work was carried out on registration in accordance with the provisions of the legislation effective in Turkmenistan.

This example given in the Report is evidence that the Ombudsman’s Office keeps issues related to the protection of citizens’ rights to housing, in particular, rights of large families, ensuring the upbringing of children in adequate housing conditions in the centre of their constant attention.

Satisfactory results have also been achieved following the results of the work carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office on collective written complaints from citizens expressing dissatisfaction with the activities of local executive authorities on housing issues.

For example, a collective statement was registered from a resident of the city of Ashgabat, T.B. and others, which indicated that as a result of the demolition of their housing, they were relocated to a low-quality residential building that was not fully equipped. They sent an appeal about this to the local executive authority, which brought no results. The appeal to the Ombudsman contained a collective request for assistance in this matter. As a result of the work carried out, it was reported that in order to correct the shortcomings indicated in the appeal, the employees of the Individual Enterprise ‘Arslan’ brought the heating and cooling systems of the residential building into proper condition; water heating systems, gas stoves were fully installed in the building; repair work was carried out in toilets, bathrooms, balconies; the drainage system on the roofs of houses was properly fixed, a communication system has been established. Work continued on connecting houses to the appropriate systems and mains, and electricity and drinking water consumption meters have been installed in apartments. The facades of residential buildings have been renovated, and in order to fully establish the water supply of a residential building, the contractor was installing water tanks and water works. In addition, the responsible managers have been instructed to fully correct the shortcomings in the residential building in accordance with building regulations and exercise control.

The Ombudsman accepted a collective statement from the residents U.N. and others, of the house __, Senagat street, Buzmein etrap, city of Ashgabat. They expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the construction of a residential building based on a concluded shared construction contract had not been started, and asked for assistance in this matter. In accordance with article 27 of the Law, based on the Ombudsman’s inquiry, the hakimlik of Ashgabat assisted in an investigation. They found that the delay in the start of the construction of a house based on a shared construction contract was justified by the decision of the public working commission on housing under the hakimlik of Ashgabat. The decision was guided by the need to primarily provide housing for demolished households that were previously located on the construction sites of one 4-storey 32-apartment residential building and one 4-storey 48-apartment residential building on Senagat street, Buzmein etrap, city of Ashgabat. The construction was funded from the state budget according to Resolution No. 508 of 23 April 2021 of the hakimlik of the city of Ashgabat. It was also found that the individual enterprise ‘Humarala’ had begun the construction of housing under a shared construction agreement for residents of house on Senagat street, Buzmein etrap, city of Ashgabat.

One more example shows that the Ombudsman’s Office registered an appeal from a resident of the city of Ashgabat, N.J., for assistance in restoring the right to housing for her and a minor child. The appeal indicated that she was registered in a house owned by her ex-spouse K.J. After the demolition of the house and receiving an apartment in lieu, her husband refused to register N.J. and their minor daughter D.J. at a new address. Having dissolved the marriage concluded with her, K.J., despite her disagreement, tried to sell the provided housing through the State Notary Office. Based on the court’s decision, the State Notary Office had to conclude a contract of sale, after which the claim of the person who purchased the housing was satisfied by the court. As a result, N.J. and her minor daughter D.J. were evicted. Based on Article 30 of the Law, a recommendation was sent to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan, in response to which it was reported that the N.J.’s appeal was satisfied. In accordance with the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code of Turkmenistan, the court decision, according to which the State Notary Office had to conclude a purchase and sale agreement, and the eviction of the mother and daughter, were annulled. The disputed apartment reverted to the original status.

As can be seen from this example, the right to live in a residential house of the applicant and a minor child, guaranteed by law, including the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Guarantees of the Rights of the Child’ and the Housing Code of Turkmenistan was violated and after the Ombudsman’s intervention was restored.

Article 24 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Migration’ guarantees the right of our citizens to leave Turkmenistan and enter Turkmenistan. However, some citizens’ appeals contained information about violation of the provisions of this law, restriction of the right to free movement.

For example, the Ombudsman accepted a telegram from a resident of the Balkan velayat, a Kazakh national O.U. for assistance in leaving Turkmenistan in a short time. At the same time, it was indicated that, despite the permission to leave for permanent residence abroad, his name and the name of his son were not included in the lists of those traveling abroad. In response to the Ombudsman’s request for assistance in fact checking, sent on the basis of Article 27 of the Law to the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan, it was pointed out that there were no obstacles for the departure of O.U. and his son from Turkmenistan, and it was also reported that they left the country unhindered.

The registered complaint of a resident of Mary velayat K.A. indicating that the certain bodies did not allow to travel abroad and requesting assistance in this matter, on the basis of Article 27 of the Law, was refered to the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan with the request to assist in verifying the facts cited by the applicant. In response to the Ombudsman’s request, it was reported that, in accordance with Article 24 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Migration’, there are no obstacles for K.A to leaving the country and entering the country. A response was sent to the citizen.

During the spread of the acute infectious disease COVID-19 in the world, temporary restrictions were introduced in all countries in order to prevent this disease. During this period, Turkmenistan also canceled air flights to foreign countries as a temporary measure in order to protect the health of the people. In this vein, the state, taking care of its citizens who remained abroad, organized charter flights to some destinations to return them to their homeland. The Ombudsman, within the framework of activities provided for in the Annual Work Plan of the Office to respect the rights of citizens, during the specified period kept under control and concurrently carried out appropriate work on the consideration of appeals related to these issues.

In particular, a registered appeal from a resident of Ashgabat, B.A., for assistance in the positive consideration of an appeal written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan for assistance in returning his wife to Turkmenistan from abroad, was referred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on the basis of Article 27 of the Law. In response to the Ombudsman’s inquiry, it was reported that the applicant’s spouse V.A. returned to Turkmenistan by the Frankfurt-Turkmenabat flight of the national carrier ‘Turkmenhowaýollary’.

In some written complaints of citizens to the Ombudsman, it was indicated that there was a delay in the execution of necessary warrant related to their cases on the basis of court decisions that have entered into force; and a request to assist in resolving these issues. The Ombudsman referred such complaints by affiliation to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan and they were satisfied as a result of the actions taken.

For example, a resident G.B. of the Balkan velayat lodged an appeal expressing dissatisfaction with the failure of the bailiff to comply with the decision made by the Balkanabat City Court, and requested assistance in this matter. The appeal was referred to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan by affiliation and as a result of the work carried out on enforcement proceeding towards the defendant who refused to voluntarily execute the court decision, on the basis of Article 45 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On Enforcement Proceedings and the Status of Bailiffs’, enforcement measures were applied. In addition, due to participation of members of the commission, the obstacles created against G.B to use the apartment located at the address specified in the appeal were lifted, and he settled at the said address. The relevant act on the full execution of the court decision was drawn up.

In some appeals/complaints accepted for handling by the Ombudsman’s Office, citizens expressed dissatisfaction with the work of law enforcement agencies; indicated that appeals for the protection of property rights were left without answers; measures were not taken against persons who have committed crimes. The Ombudsman carried out the inspections on such complaints, and it was found that, in addition to the untimely and improper conduct of work on such facts by the relevant investigative bodies, their inspections and investigative actions resulted in harm caused not only to citizens, but also to the interests of the state.

For example, a statement by a resident of the Ahal velayat, H.M., was accepted for processing. In it he stated that his appeal to law enforcement agencies to bring to criminal responsibility citizens who fraudulently took hand-made carpets worth 900.000 manats from him was unsuccessful, and he requested to assist in this matter. In its response to the inquiry sent by the Ombudsman in accordance with Article 27 of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan reported that as a result of the investigation, H.M. received 6000 manats from citizens N.N. and O.A. who took carpets from him, and an agreement was reached on the return of remaining 894.000 manats. The citizen was completely satisfied with the results of the investigation and wrote a statement on the termination of the investigation.

The statement of E.R., a resident of Dashoguz velayat, admitted for handling, informed that the law enforcement officers did not take measures against N.O., who took money from his son M.M. on the condition to repair his car. After disassembling the spare parts of the car and selling them, he ran away. On the basis of Article 27 of the Law the complaint was referred to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Turkmenistan. In response to the request of the Ombudsman about an investigation, the following was reported. The investigation was conducted on the appeal of citizen M.M. During the investigative work, it was established that N.O., who worked on a rented plot with a rent fee of 800 manats, without a lease agreement with the auto repair shop of the entrepreneur A.S., took an advance of 8,000 manats from M.M. on the condition to repair his car. Thus, appropriating spare parts worth 15,600 manats from him and selling them, he caused damage totaling 23,600 manats, cheated and ran away. A criminal case was initiated against him and most of the spare parts were seized from the citizens to whom they were sold and returned to M.M. It was also reported that, having established the location and detained N.O., investigative actions continued. The entrepreneur A.S., based on Article 301 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Turkmenistan, paid a fine of 300 manats for illegal transfer of the land plot to N.O. without a lease agreement, and the payment for the patent was also made. Thus, that the damage was caused not only to a citizen, but also to the interests of the state.

When analyzing written appeals/complaints addressed to the Ombudsman, cases were identified when, on some issues that could be resolved on the ground, citizens were forced to apply to higher and central authorities, including the Ombudsman. Following the work carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office, the appeals were satisfied.

For instance, a registered complaint of a resident of Dashoguz velayat D.K. informed about the non-execution of decisions issued by the hakimliks of Dashoguz velayat and S.A.Nyyazov’s etrap, Dashoguz velayat regarding an entrepreneur R.A., who, in excess of the leased land plot, took illegal possession of land plot. The Ombudsman referred this appeal, guided by Article 27 of the Law, to the hakimlik of Dashoguz velayat. As a result of the inspection, a response informed that the requirements of Article 118 of the Land Code were executed. In particular, the illegal buildings on the land plot of 0.039 hectares adjoining the land plot allotted to the entrepreneur R.A. for rent for a period of 39 years to create a sales outlet and catering were demolished at his expense and the land plot was returned.

An appeal from a resident of the Dashoguz velayat I.R. was accepted. In it, he informed that he could not receive from the relevant authorities the necessary documents for registration at the State Notary Office of his inherited share in the apartment left by inheritance from his father at home __, Magtymguly street in Dashoguz, and a request to assist in solving this matter. The Ombudsman carried out the appropriate work, as a result, in his subsequent letter, I.R. informed that the relevant authorities had issued the necessary documents related to the inheritance, and expressed gratitude to the Ombudsman for assistance in satisfying his appeal.

A registered appeal of A.S., a resident of Ashgabat, contained a request to release A.R. from the duty of guardian of an incapacitated brother on the basis of Resolution No. 1078 of 6 February 2020 of the hakimlik of the Berkararlyk etrap, city of Ashgabat. In accordance with Article 30 of the Law, the recommendation of the Ombudsman on conducting an inspection was sent to the hakimlik of the city of Ashgabat. The results of the inspection have shown that since April 2021, A.R., who was appointed guardian, did not live at the same address together with H.R., who was taken under his guardianship. Thereby, he did not fulfill the duties of a guardian. The response also reported that the recommendation on the appeal was satisfied, in particular, by Resolution No. 992 of 12 October 2022, the hakim of the Berkararlyk etrap of Ashgabat, A.R. was relieved of the duty of guardian and the applicant A.S. was appointed guardian of the incapacitated H.R.

It should be noted that in comparison with previous years, the number of requests from citizens for employment has decreased. The claims received in accordance with the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ were referred to the competent authorities. In the course of interviews held on the ground, the claimants were offered vacancies, however, some of them expressed a desire to work at a certain job and in certain territories, refusing the offered jobs. The example below confirms this.

For instance, the Ombudsman’s Office registered an appeal from a resident of the Balkan velayat, B.A., in which it was indicated that she did not work and was waiting in a queue at the Department of Labour and Employment of the Population of the etrap (district) in which she resided. She requested assistance in providing work to her. Based on Article 27 of the Law, a letter was sent to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population for assistance in verifying the facts indicated. The response received stated that during the meeting, the claimant got familiarized with the available vacancies in institutions/enterprises located within the velayat, and several jobs were offered. However, she refused the job offered and expressed a desire to work in the specialty ‘accountant’ or as a junior service personnel in an organization located on the territory of the Bereket etrap, funded by from the state budget. According to this official information, B.A. was given an answer to the requested question with an explanation of the right to inquire about the availability of jobs at will in institutions/enterprises located on the etrap’s territory, in the Department of Labour and Employment of the Population at the place of residence.

During the reporting year, the Ombudsman’s Office received oral appeals from citizens. During the receptions, their appeals were listened to and explanations of the legislation and relevant recommendations were given on their issues. A prompt action was needed on them in some cases.

In particular, at the premises of the Ombudsman’s Office during the reception in November 2022, a resident of Mary velayat T.K. addressed orally, saying that the relevant services did not give permission to travel abroad in order to visit her son, and asked for assistance in resolving the matter. The Ombudsman carried out work on this appeal, and it was established that there were no restrictions of special bodies for departure from Turkmenistan, and assistance was provided in obtaining permission for her from the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan to travel to Belarus.

On 28 December 2022, the Ombudsman’s Office received a Gratitude Letter from T.K. expressing gratitude for assistance in resolving the issue, which was pending for a long time.

In addition, in accordance with the approved Work Plan of the Ombudsman’s Office, as in previous years, during 2022, within the framework of working visits to velayats, receptions of citizens were held together with members of the Special commissions to review citizens’ written appeals in velayat hakimliks. In addition, oral appeals of citizens on various issues were considered on the ground, some of which were satisfied.

For example, with the participation of representatives of organizations concerned, the issues of a resident of the Mary velayat, H.O., who had previously applied to the Ombudsman’s Office with a written appeal, in which it was reported that he was brought up in a State Orphanage, located in the city of Ashgabat. There was a request to assist in the registration of the house he inherited, to which he returned to live, and to continue studying at a secondary vocational school, education in which he had to interrupt due to the dire financial family circumstances and the fact that he was the sole breadwinner of the family. The issues were resolved on the spot. As a result, H.O. was satisfied with the work carried out on this appeal and expressed his gratitude.

A resident of Mary velayat B.O., informed that his son Ch.O., who lived in the gengeshlik ‘Taze yol’ of the Bayramaly etrap and worked as a mechanic in the Dayhan/Farmers’ Association at his place of residence, could not receive wages for 5 months. He asked for assistance in this matter. Similarly, a resident of the Turkmengala etrap of Mary velayat M.B. and others reported that the company ‘Marymive/Mary Fruit’, did not pay them, despite grown and delivered products to the company. They asked for assistance in making a settlement. For these appeals, the Ombudsman, together with the members of the commission, carried out work on the ground, as a result of which the branch of the SSB ‘Dayhanbank’ in the Mary velayat issued the salary of Ch.O., and the cost of the products was paid to M.B. and others, their appeals were satisfied.

A resident of Dashoguz velayat T.G. informed that, despite the certificate issued to him on the transfer of an agricultural land plot for a period of 99 years, the hakimlik of the Boldumsaz etrap of the velayat did not issue a guarantee certificate for the cultivation of products and asked for assistance in addressing the issue. The issue stated in the oral appeal of T.G. was satisfied with the assistance of the Ombudsman and on the basis of the instruction of the head of the velayat/region hakimlik; the requested guarantee certificate has been issued to the citizen by the hakimlik/municipality of the corresponding etrap/district.

Unofficial translation:

To the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan

Yazdursun Gurbannazarova

From_____ Registered at the address Dashoguz city,

Magtymguly Street, ____

Forced to temporarily reside at: Dashoguz velayat, Turkmenbashi district, ___

I have written to you an appeal for assistance in issuing a certificate for inheritance at the address Dashoguz, Magtymguly street__________

At the moment, the relevant authorities are working on these issues. I don't have any more complaints. Thank you very much for the help provided. May all of you be rewarded by Allah Almighty!

30.06.2022

Unofficial translation:

The Commissioner for Human Rights in Turkmenistan, 

The Ombudsman Yazdursun Gurbannazarova,

from a citizen_______

residing at the address of Mary____

Statement

My problem, which has not been resolved for 8 years, was solved within 24 hours after a visit to your Office. This event is one of the most joyful in my life, which contributed to my vacation in Belarus, where I was able to see my son, whom I had not seen for 8 years.

I am proud that there are such brave mothers and women, professionals like you. Also, let me thank you for the opportunity to travel abroad. Being in Belarus, when I told my son, daughter-in-law and relatives-in-law about your help, they also asked me to convey words of gratitude to you.

Yazdursun Gurbannazarova!

For all the work that you have done in our Independent, Neutral Turkmenistan to respect human rights, I pray to Allah Almighty that he bestows you with health, a long life and I wish you further success in your work!

I wish you to enjoy the success of your kids!

22.12.2022

Unofficial translation:

To the municipality

of Mary velayat from the tenant of the collective farm 

Mary etrap ____

Statement

Responsible parties have met at the building of velayat hakimlik on the issue of filed complaint to the Arkadag Serdar and Ombudsman. At the moment there isn’t any obstacle on my labor issue. The rules for buying an apartment and continuing studies were explained. I was satisfied with the clarifications I received. Thank you very much for the help provided. Happy New Year to you!

28.12.2022

Unofficial translation:

To the Ombudsman 

Yazdursun Gurbannazarova, from a citizen_______

residing at the address__________

I, ______ express my deep respect to you and thank you for the responses (№ ________ № _______), where you informed me about consideration of extension of my expired driving license. Thank you very much for your assistance rendered to me and many women in need of a driving license.

Allow me to use this opportunity and congratulate you and your staff with the coming New 2023 year and wish you strong health, happiness and meet it with optimism, attaining great results for the benefit of the people of Turkmenistan!

Sincerely

28.12.2022


In the relevant chapter of the Report, it is noted that one of the main activities of the Ombudsman is to promote the development of international co-operation in the field of human rights, and facilitate on the territory of Turkmenistan requests for assistance in handling of appeals, received from Authorized Representatives for Human Rights of other countries. In this regard, the Ombudsman carries out certain work within her powers.

During the year under review, 9 appeals were received from Authorized Representatives for Human Rights of other states, and as a result of the work carried out on them by the Ombudsman, the requested documents were received from the relevant authorities and referred to by affiliation.

Unofficial translation:

Human Rights Ombudsman in Russian Federation

To The Authorised Representative for Human Rights in Turkmenistan, 

The Ombudsman Yazdursun Gurbannazarova

Dear Ms Gurbannazarova,

 I express my gratitude to you for providing assistance in a very important matter - obtaining a certificate on confirming the work experience of S.B. on the territory of Turkmenistan, which was needed for the issuing of an old-age insurance pension.

Looking forward to future cooperation on human rights protection.

T.N. Moskalkova

12.10.2022

Unofficial translation:

To the Authorised Representative for 

Human Rights in Turkmenistan

Yazdursun Gurbannazarova

Dear Yazdursun,

Allow me to express my thanks to you for assistance in addressing the issue of G.M.

Due to your work on the inquiry of necessary documents to confirm the preferential work experience and sending them to me, the applicant could realize the right for an early insurance pension. 

I express my hope for future co-operation in the field of human rights and freedoms that are of truly universal nature and do not have state borders.

Sincerely,

T.A.Potyaeva

Ombudsman of the city of Moscow


This chapter on the inquiries and recommendations of the Ombudsman sets the goal to demonstrate, based on the above examples, that satisfactory outcomes were achieved based on the consideration of the appeals received by the Ombudsman's Office, and to draw attention to the violations committed, and thereby facilitate the prevention of human rights violations.

Also, in this part of the Report, as confirmation of the work done it was deemed expedient to insert copies of the said letters expressing gratitude to the Ombudsman by some officials and citizens whose appeals were satisfied as a result of the work carried out by the Ombudsman on citizens’ appeals during 2022.

Chapter IХConclusion

It is the Sixth report of the Authorized Representative for Human Rights, the Ombudsman of Turkmenistan, on the work done and on the situation in the country in the field of human rights. It highlighted the activities carried out in accordance with the ‘Work Plan of the Ombudsman’s Office for 2022’, approved by the Ombudsman, in line with the duties provided for by the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ and within the limits of the assigned powers.

In accordance with the Work Plan of the Ombudsman’s Office, work was carried out over the past year, predominantly in such areas as:

  • ensuring civil, political, economic, social, cultural human and civil rights;
  • monitoring the observance of human rights by public authorities and local self-governments, officials;
  • effective consideration of citizens’ appeals;
  • assistance in improving the national legislation;
  • development of international human rights co-operation;
  • increasing knowledge and awareness on human rights;
  • promoting the work of the civil society aimed at protecting human rights;
  • improving the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office.

At the same time, as the title of the report suggests, an overview of the situation in the country in the field of human rights was provided. In particular, some chapters of the report highlighted important events occurred in the country and the work done to ensure the realization of human and civil rights to a decent life, health care, education, housing, work, recreation, clean environment, and others.

The report has shown concrete examples of the Ombudsman’s activities. In particular, data on the consideration of citizens’ appeals, the identification of committed offenses as a result of inspections, the restoration of citizens’ rights, and the adoption of measures against responsible persons have been presented. The relevant chapters of the report provided information on the activities of the Ombudsman in such areas as the development of international co-operation in the field of human rights, assistance in improving national legislation and raising awareness of citizens on human rights. The work carried out resulted as in previous years in the recommendations by the Ombudsman issued at the end of each chapter. They aim to improve work in relevant areas, strengthening monitoring, preventing further human rights violations. We express our confidence that responsible officials of government authorities and local self-government bodies, will further promote respect for human rights within the limits of their powers.

At the end of the report, we note that the Government of Turkmenistan has created all conditions for the full performance of the Ombudsman’s functions, including for further improvement of the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office, since the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On the Ombudsman’ provides for broad powers and functions of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman assures that, within the competence provided for by Law, together with the staff of the Office, work will be carried out aimed at strict observance of human and civil rights and freedoms, comprehensive improvement of the activities of this independent organization.

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