Strengthening the National Capacity of Turkmenistan to Promote and Protect Human Rights

What is the project about

Following visits to Turkmenistan by the United Nations Secretary General in 2002 and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2003, as well as a needs assessment mission by OHCHR in 2004, UNDP and OHCHR jointly implemented a project entitled “Building of Reporting Capacities in Turkmenistan” between 2006 and 2009. This project contributed to a number of significant developments including:

  • The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
  • The establishment of an interdepartmental commission to coordinate the preparation of Turkmenistan’s reports to UN human rights treaty bodies and approval of a submissions schedule;
  • The submission of initial reports to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture, as well as additional information to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination regarding implementation of its concluding observations and a report to the Human Rights Council in the context of its Universal Periodic Review.

A request from the Government of Turkmenistan for increased UN assistance in the area of human rights and a visit by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2007 paved the way for additional technical cooperation in this field. As a result this joint initiative of EU, UNDP and OHCHR, was developed with major funding from the EU. The project implemented in 2009 – 2013 and ended on the 2nd of July 2013. The overall objective of the project was to increase knowledge on international human rights standards and mechanisms in Turkmenistan and to strengthen national capacities to promote and protect human rights in accordance with these standards. Specifically, the project contributed to:

  • Increased awareness of Turkmen government officials and relevant stakeholders on all aspects of human rights standards, instruments and follow-up;
  • A strengthened institutional system of reporting and follow-up to recommendations by UN human rights mechanisms and improved human rights technical capacity;
  • Increased awareness on principles of proper administration of justice among relevant law enforcement agencies;
  • Improved access of the population to human rights information.

In overall, the project was successful in introducing human rights concepts into different parts of Turkmenistan’s establishment and developing duty bearer awareness, as well as improving access of the country’s population to human rights information and knowledge.

Paying attention to the fact, that the convergence of a number of initiatives represents provides a significant opportunity to build on the progress made during the project, it was decided to continue the work and develop the II phase of the Project with the tentative start date on the 1st of April 2014.

Phase II both builds on and brings together these advances with a focus, first, on the application of the human rights knowledge acquired by officials in Phase I and, secondly, on the implementation of the broad range of recommendations accepted by the Government of Turkmenistan during the UPR which have relevance for many government ministries and agencies.

Between the two phases, it is important that momentum is not lost and that preparations are made for the new direction that will be provided by Phase II. This will involve keeping communications open with beneficiaries of Phase I, continuing their development and undertaking certain activities that will lay the groundwork for Phase II initiatives.

4 result areas contribute to the achievement of this overall objective in the interim phase:

  1. National human rights action plan (NHRAP) completed which includes a specific focus on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) implementation. The NHRAP will be results-oriented;
  2. Turkmen National Institute of democracy and human rights under the President of Turkmenistan advocates for human rights, raises human rights awareness among officials and general public, investigates and monitors implementation of human rights standards;
  3. Awareness of Turkmen institutions, relevant stakeholders and public on implementation of newly ratified international instruments, as well as selected thematic human rights issues, and UPR recommendations raised;
  4. Judiciary and law enforcement bodies approached for enhancing and practicing professional skills to ensure access to justice.

What have we accomplished during the 1st and an interim phase of the Project so far

  • To date, the project has organized 52 workshops and 4 study visits on UN human rights standards and mechanisms enhancing the capacities of 2137 Turkmen officials and other stakeholders (including 43% women);
  • With support from the project, the Government completed its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women;
  • The project enhanced knowledge on the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of government delegations, which represented Turkmenistan before the respective committees monitoring implementation of these conventions, as well as International Covenant on Civil and political rights;
  • Trainings on benchmarks and indicators were also conducted;
  • Teaching package on human rights were developed and piloted by those national experts on regular training activities for the students of higher educational institutions;
  • The draft National Human Rights Action Plan was developed by the Working Group of the Interdepartmental Commission, with the main focus on the implementation of recent UPR recommendations and national policies and programmes in the area of human right;
  • The project supported the opening of a resource centre on human rights at the Turkmen National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights under the President of Turkmenistan, as well as in four velayats of Turkmenistan. More than 800 information packages with human rights materials were distributed amongst the general public at international conferences and exhibitions.

Who Finances it

Donor Amount contributed, USD
UNDP 40,490
UK embassy
US embassy
Total budget 94,268

Delivery in previous fiscal year(s)

Year Amount, USD
2009 125,243
2010 732,003
2011 914,733
2012 721,211
Project period
3 July 2013 - 31 March 2014
Geographic coverage
Focus area
Democratic governance
Turkmen National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights under the President of Turkmenistan; Interdepartmental Commission on ensuring Turkmenistan’s compliance with international obligations in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law
Focal points
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative

Ms. Cao Lin


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