Country report and updates: Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan

19/05/1998

1 Conscription

conscription exists

Turkmenistan decided to create its own armed forces in early 1992. However, their first full-scale military exercises did not occur until October 1995. [2]

military service

Military service lasts for two years - although according to another source the period is 18 months. [4] [6]

postponement and exemption

No information available.

recruitment

No information available.

2 Conscientious objection

The right to conscientious objection is not legally recognized and there are no provisions for substitute service. [5]

There are no known cases of conscripts openly refusing to perform military service.

3 Draft evasion and desertion

penalties

Minister of Defence Kopekov stated in 1992 that legislation was being drafted whereby deserters would face "very severe measures, including criminal responsibility". [3]

No further details about this are known.

practice

Draft evasion is widespread and has increased significantly since Turkmenistan became an independent state. It is caused by the poor conditions and human rights violations within the armed forces. Crime is a serious problem in the armed forces: in 1996 even President Niyazov referred to the problem of arms sales, drug smuggling and even the 'sale' of conscripts in remote garrisons by garrison leaders to local farmers. [2]

Desertion too is widespread. In 1994 there was said to be a 20 percent desertion rate - which would indicate approximately 2,000 soldiers deserted from the armed forces that year. [1]

It is not known how far draft evasion and desertion are actually monitored and punished.

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are 16,000 to 18,000-strong - that is, about 0.40 percent of the population. [4]

Every year approximately 40,000 men reach conscription age. [4]

Sources

[1] Shishlevskiy, Valentin 1994. 'The Evolution of Turkmenistan's Armed Forces', in: Asian Defence Journal, 7/1994. [2] Kangas, Roger D. 1996. 'With an Eye on Russia, Central Asian Militaries Practice Cooperation', in: Transition, 9 August 1996. [3] Amnesty International 1992. Concerns in Europe November 1991 - April 1992. AI, London. [4] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London. [5] Amnesty International 1997. Out of the margins, the right to conscientious objections to military service in Europe. AI, London. [6] UN Commission on Human Rights, 1997. The question of conscientious objection to military service, report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/83. United Nations, Geneva.

CO-alerts

Articles related to conscientious objection

23 Apr 2013
English

The cases of ten Turkmen Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors are being considered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The complainants, led by Navruz Nasyrlaev, filed complaints of torture and violation of their rights to freedom of religion or belief with the UN Human Rights Committee on 3 September 2012.

These complaints have noted that in the Seydi Labour Camp - where most conscientious objectors (COs) are held - COs have regularly been subjected to spells in the punishment cell, whilst some have been brutally beaten.

01 May 2012
English

While another conscientious objector was sent to prison for two years (see co-alert, 1 May 2012), Turkmenistan's human rights record was for the first time examined by the Human Rights Committee during it's 104th session in New York.

30 Mar 2012
English

Human Rights Committee
104th session
New York, 12–30 March 2012
CCPR/C/TKM/CO/1

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee

Turkmenistan

(...)

14 Feb 2011
English

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or
belief, Heiner Bielefeldt

Addendum
Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received

(...)

(a) Allegations transmitted to the Government

01 Oct 2010
English

The central Asian republic of Turkmenistan passed a new law on military duty and military service, which reduces the upper age limit for military from 30 to 27 years. The age of conscription remains at 18 years. According to the State News Agency of Turkmenistan, this legislative document provides the definition of the notion of the armed forces and other military divisions, the authorities and official duties of the management staff of the abovementioned bodies in compliance with the provisions of the Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan.

Forum posts related to conscientious objection