The international nongovernmental organizations Crude Accountability (USA), the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia), the human rights organization Freedom Files (Russia) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee created the Turkmenistan Civic Solidarity Group in spring 2013 with the goal of promoting work to defend human rights in Turkmenistan. The Group was created as part of and with the support of the international human rights coalition, Civic Solidarity Platform.3 The Group launched the “Prove They Are Alive Campaign!” in September 2013. The campaign team was joined by leading human rights NGOs Human Rights Center Memorial and Human Rights Watch. Our campaign partners include independent experts and civil society activists of Turkmenistan.
Within the campaign, we work with intergovernmental organizations including the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and the European Union, as well as with governments and parliaments of various countries. We work with broad international civil society in order to influence public opinion about the unacceptability of, and to categorically reject, disappearance in prisons, which is a characteristic feature of regimes such as Turkmenistan.
The Goal of the Campaign Prove They Are Alive! is to uncover the truth about the fate of hundreds of people who have disappeared in Turkmen prisons as the result of massive repression that took place in the 2000s. Uncovering the truth about gross human rights violations by Turkmenistan’s authorities in the past and today will stop additional violations in the future. By raising the question of the fate of those people who have disappeared in Turkmenistan’s prisons on the international level, we begin to pave the way to addressing the systemic human rights violations committed by one of the most opaque and repressive regimes in the world.
Objectives of the Prove They Are Alive! campaign:
- Understand the fates of all those who have disappeared in Turkmen prisons, and obtain information from the Turkmen authorities about their location,their health and their legal status;
- Obtain access to the imprisoned for their families, lawyers, doctors and representatives of international organizations;
- Prevent further disappearances of people in Turkmenistan’s prisons;
- Help to improve the overall human rights situation in Turkmenistan, including conditions in Turkmenistan’s prisons.
We hope to reach these objectives through cooperation with international organizations and through direct dialogue with the government of Turkmenistan. The resolution of this humanitarian crisis and the disclosure of information about the imprisoned will push the Turkmen authorities to take the first step away from Turkmenistan’s totalitarian past and the legacy of mass repression.
We invite all those who have information about the fate of those who have disappeared in Turkmen prisons to contact us. If you are interested in working with us on the campaign, please contact us at email@example.com.