Turkmenistan - Incomprehension at UN Human Rights Council's refusal to name special rapporteur for Turkmenistan

    MONTREAL, Oct. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is baffled by
the United Nations Human Rights Council's rejection on 23 September of a draft
resolution for the appointment of a special rapporteur on the human rights
situation in Turkmenistan. The resolution was proposed by the European Union,
Canada, Switzerland and Uruguay.
    "We express our total incomprehension at the UN's inability to establish
a mechanism for monitoring human rights in Turkmenistan," Reporters Without
Borders said. "This is one of the world's most repressive countries and it is
vital to put pressure on the authorities to improve the situation of human
rights and press freedom."
    The Human Rights Council held an initial meeting behind closed doors on
15 September to look at the question of human rights in Turkmenistan. It met
again on 23 September to consider the proposal to name an expert, and rejected
it. No member of the council made any comment. As the council has no
spokesperson, it is customary to regard its votes as a statement of its
    Turkmenistan was ranked 167th out of 169 countries in the latest
Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index and its president,
Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, is on the Reporters Without Borders list of press
freedom predators and Internet enemies.
    The press freedom organisation is very concerned about journalist
Annakurban Amanklychev and human rights activist Sapardurdy Khajiyev, who have
been held in Turkmenbashi prison since 2006. They are serving seven-year
sentences for helping a French TV producer prepare a report on Turkmenistan.
    The UN Human Rights Council was created on 15 March 2006 to replace the
UN Commission on Human Rights. The council is a permanent body with 47 member
countries that are elected for three-year terms by the UN General Assembly. An
absolute majority is needed to be elected.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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