Article 3 of the 1992 Constitution of Turkmenistan (as amended through 2008) provides as follows:
In Turkmenistan, the people are the highest value of the society and the state. The state is responsible for every citizen and creates conditions for free development of the individual, protects the life, honour, dignity and freedom, personal integrity, natural and inalienable rights of the citizen.
Article 22 further stipulates that:
Each individual has the right to life and liberty and the exercise (of this right). No one can be deprived of the right to life. The right of each person to free life is protected by the state on the basis of law.
Article 23 prohibits torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
Under Article 29 of the Constitution, citizens "are guaranteed freedom of assembly, rallies and demonstrations in the manner prescribed by law". Article 21, however, states that the
exercise of rights and freedoms must not violate the rights and freedoms of others, as well as the requirements of morality, law, public order, [or] cause damage to national security.
The Constitution does not address national law enforcement agencies. Article 75 makes the Cabinet of Ministers responsible for "measures to ensure and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, protection of property rights and public order, [and] national security".
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||Not party|
There is no regional human rights treaty to which Central Asian nations can become party.
Police Use of Force
Law enforcement in Turkmenistan is carried out by national police under the Ministry of the Interior as well as by the Committee for National Security (KNB). There is not believed to be national legislation in place governing police use of force.
In 2012, the Ministry of Interior was supported by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the training of the police on protecting human rights and countering terrorism.
There is no civilian independent police oversight body in Turkmenistan. In its 2016 Concluding Observations on Turkmenistan, the Committee against Torture called on the authorities to:
Ensure that all reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement and prison staff are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially by an independent mechanism with no institutional or hierarchical connection to the investigators and the alleged perpetrators....
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2017 Concluding Observations on Turkmenistan, the Human Rights Committee stated that it remained concerned
about consistent reports of torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, including severe beatings and electric shocks, particularly to extract confessions, and that impunity prevails for such acts.
It was further concerned about allegations of:
(a) torture and ill-treatment of inmates, including of those detained at Seydi labour camp and at the Ovadan Depe prison, which holds political opponents;
(b) placement of inmates in “kartsers” in extreme temperatures with mosquito infestations and miniscule amounts of food and water, as well as detention for prolonged periods in “hunchback cells” with no room to stand;
(c) deaths in custody caused by torture and ill-treatment, including of Lukman Yaylanov and Narkuly Baltayev, one of whom reportedly weighed only 25 kg at the time of death due to starvation and torture....
There is no regional human rights court with jurisdiction over police use of force in Turkmenistan.