On August 30, 2018, The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council issued a statement expressing its concerns about the enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan and called on Turkmen authorities to immediately eradicate the problem. The organization also called on all the participating states to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The statement text is below and is also available in PDF format.
In addition, the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to OSCE issued a statement condemning the crime of enforced disappearances in the region and calling the situation in Turkmenistan especially worrisome. On behalf of Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, the statement called on the participating states to promptly investigate the cases of enforced disappearances and disclose the whereabouts of the victims of this terrible crime.
OSCE Permanent Council No 1194
Vienna, 30 August 2018
EU statement marking the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances
On the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the European Union would like to reaffirm its strong commitment to the prevention of enforced disappearances, which is a serious violation of human rights, inter alia, not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Our OSCE and international commitments are abundantly clear: any forms of torture and ill-treatment are unequivocally prohibited, under all circumstances, and without exceptions.
We are deeply concerned that – despite clear international norms – we continue to receive reports of enforced disappearances in several parts of the OSCE region. In addition, previous cases of disappearances have failed to be addressed, causing impunity, thus denying justice and effective remedy to the victims.
We remain seriously concerned about the fate of people subject to enforced disappearance in Turkmenistan’s prisons. Credible reports have documented more than one hundred cases of people kept in full isolation in Turkmenistan’s prisons, and more than 11 people have died in custody over the past three years. The fate of many other disappeared people in Turkmenistan’s prisons remains unknown.
The EU reiterates its strong call on Turkmenistan to immediately and effectively acknowledge this problem, take action on the outstanding cases and to eradicate the problem of enforced disappearances.
In light of persisting challenges, we encourage all participating States to consider ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and its optional protocols and recognising the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, as well as to take practical steps to combat enforced disappearances. This includes effectively investigating allegations of enforced disappearances, bringing perpetrators to justice and providing proper redress to the victims and their families.