Foreign Ministries of Turkmenistan and Switzerland Hold Consultations in Ashgabat
Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry hosted bilateral political consultations between the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Turkmenistan and the Swiss Confederation to discuss trade and economic cooperation through the establishment of a Turkmen-Swiss Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation and the organization of a business forum for Turkmen and Swiss businessmen to be held in Ashgabat this year.
Turkmenistan Hosted International Conference on Countering Human Trafficking
Turkmenstan’s government together with International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ashgabat hosted a two-day forum entitled “Sharing best practices between Eastern and Western Europe and Central Asia for development and implementation of National Action Plans to combat human trafficking.” IOM Director General Lacy Swing, as well as US Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Lynne M. Tracy came to Ashgabat to participate. The forum brought together delegations from Europe, the CIS, and from countries of the Middle East, and included representatives from the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. Turkmenistan sent representatives from a number of ministries, departments and public associations to participate in the forum. Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov personally met with IOM Director General Lacy Swing.
Turkmen President to Pay State Visit to Kazakhstan on May 10-11
The President of Turkmenistan will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan on May 10-11 for Turkmen-Kazakh summit talks. According to Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister, Rashid Meredov, the talks are expected to result in the signing of bilateral documents aimed at furthering the development of inter-state relations. Meredov also said that the Presidents of both countries will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Turkmen-Kazakh section of the transnational railway “North-South” (international railway Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran).
Turkmenistan Second Worst Country for Journalists
Turkmenistan was ranked the second worst country in the world, after North Korea, for working as a journalist, according to the annual ratings published by the international watchdog, Freedom House.
Source: Freedom House
US Commission on International Religious Freedom Named Turkmenistan Country of Particular Concern
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) published its annual report, naming Turkmenistan as a country of particular concern along with Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Vietnam. The religious freedom environment remains extremely poor, as the Turkmen religion law makes it difficult for religious groups to function. Police raids and other harassment of registered and unregistered religious groups continue, and Jehovah’s Witnesses are imprisoned for conscientious objection, said the report. “In addition to designating Turkmenistan as a CPC, the United States should raise human rights and religious freedom in all bilateral meetings with the Turkmen government, urge it to adopt new laws and practices that comply with international human rights standards, and establish a regular reporting mechanism on these issues. If the Turkmen government continues to violate human rights obligations, including on freedom of religion or belief, and to threaten Turkmen human rights defenders both inside and outside of the country, the United States should express its concern publicly at international fora, including the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The United States also should increase educational and exchange programs and broadcasts to Turkmenistan to help overcome decades of isolation that created a dangerous cultural and educational vacuum.” – said the Priority Recommendation section of the report.
NHC Reacts to Widespread Denial of Justice and Judicial Arbitrariness
Endemic corruption, arbitrariness and denial of justice are key words that illustrate the justice system of Turkmenistan today, said the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) on its web-site. The NHC also noted that the situation has deteriorated under President Berdymukhamedov and highlighted three cases of Turkmen citizens supporting these statements. Source: NHC
American Comedian Makes Fun of Turkmen President
President Berdymukhamedov's fall from a race horse and his attempts to conceal it from the world provided satirical fodder for a comedy routine by the American late night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, in his show “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” It can be viewed here.
Source: Alternative Turkmenistan News
Turkmenistan to Open Embassy in Japan
President Berdymukhamedov signed a decree authorizing the opening of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Tokyo, Japan “with the view of further developing bilateral relations between Turkmenistan and Japan.”
Ashgabat Hosted First Meeting of Committee for V Asian Indoor Games
The Organizing Committee of the V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games held its first meeting in Ashgabat. The Games will be held in the Turkmen capital in 2017. The meeting participants were briefed on preparations for the Games, as well as the development of training programs for athletes and national teams.