In a joint statement published on 20 October, the Chairs of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances stressed that enforced disappearances are a shameful practice and a crime under international human rights law, and urged the General Assembly to put the fight against enforced disappearances at the very top of its agenda, once and for all. The statement also noted that while such a heinous practice should not exist in the 21st century, reports continue to be received in unacceptably high numbers.
In September 2017, the Campaign “Prove They Are Alive!” reported that the number of documented cases of enforced disappearances in the prisons of Turkmenistan increased from 66 at the start of the Campaign in 2013 to 112. Such an increase includes cases that started before the Campaign but were documented afterwards, as well as new cases of people held in full isolation starting from after 2013. In spite of the Campaign and pressure by several international interlocutors, the government of Turkmenistan is clearly continuing to perpetrate the illegal practice of enforced disappearances.
We call on the government of Turkmenistan to cease this unacceptable practice and guarantee to all prisoners the rights of communication and contacts with the external world, in accordance with Turkmenistan’s international commitments and national legislation.
Click here for the text of the joint statement by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.