Stop the persecution of conscientious objectors to military service

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Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Rashid Meredov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many protest emails have been sent out for this particular case).

Dear Minister Rashid Meredov

I am extremely concerned to hear about the continuing persecution of conscientious objectors in Turkmenistan, in violation of international human rights law to which Turkmenistan is subject.

Recently, this includes the imprisonment of Dovran Matyakubov, Matkarim Aminov, Yadgarbek Sharipov and Arslan Dovletov, and harassment of the family of Navruz Nasyrlayev – a conscientious objector who has filed a complaint the UN Human Rights Committee.

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors is a violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to conscientious objection. Turkmenistan is a party to the ICCPR. It is therefore bound by the standards set out in the Covenant. I want to bring to your attention the decision of the Human Rights Committee on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea. In its decision, the Committee clarifies that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 of the ICCPR (CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004, 23 January 2007). This also applies to Turkmenistan.

In fact, the Human Rights Committee stated in its Concluding Observation following a discussion of Turkmenistan's human rights situation during its 104th session in Geneva on 15 and 16 March 2012: "The State party should take all necessary measures to review its legislation with a view to providing for alternative military service. The State party should also ensure that the law clearly stipulates that individuals have the right to conscientious objection to military service. Furthermore, the State party should halt all prosecutions of individuals who refuse to perform military service on grounds of conscience and release those individuals who are currently serving prison sentences." (CCPR/C/TKM/CO/1).

I therefore urge you to immediately release Dovran Matyakubov, Matkarim Aminov, Yadgarbek Sharipov and Arslan Dovletov, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors. I urge you to respect human rights.

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