OSCE human rights conference starts in Warsaw: speech by Turkmen opposition leader Murad Kurbanov
On 3 October 2023, the OSCE Warsaw Human Dimension Conference kicked off in Warsaw, Poland, and will run until 13 October. It is one of the largest conferences in the field of human rights, and this year’s event will be attended by 1,500 participants, including representatives of various states and non-governmental organizations.
Over the next week, participants plan to discuss important issues regarding the establishment of democracy, human rights, the rule of law, the independence of judicial systems, and the elimination of discrimination. The most interesting thing is that this year, as in the past, there will be no official representatives from Belarus and Russia. At the same time, the participants will raise the issue of human rights violations by Russians on the territory of Ukraine, which subsequently led to a humanitarian catastrophe, and will also talk about atrocities against civilians, prisoners of war, destruction of historical and cultural heritage and infrastructure.
In addition to important events around Ukraine, no less important topics will be raised by representatives of other countries where democracy is absent and human rights are regularly violated instead. For example, this year Turkmenistan was represented by Murad Kurbanov, head of the People’s Movement “Democratic Choice of Turkmenistan”. In his speech, the leader of the Turkmen opposition told the story of how democracy ended in his native country and who has been poisoning the lives of Turkmen citizens for many years, while recreating an increasingly harsh dictatorial empire.
The direct speech of Murad Kurbanov, leader of the People’s Movement “Democratic Choice of Turkmenistan”:
“As you know, in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in the first non-alternative election of the President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov won and gained more than 99 percent of the rigged votes. Then in 1992 with the beginning of the formation of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov again organised elections for the President of Turkmenistan with one single candidate and again having collected more than 99% of votes confidently won. Thus, free elections in Turkmenistan ended and never started. All subsequent elections of the President of Turkmenistan were either canceled or extensively falsified by the Dictators. At the last presidential elections of Turkmenistan, held on 12 March 2022, it reached the absurdity. The elections were held 28 days after they were announced even though according to the Constitution of Turkmenistan, candidates should have been given at least 30 days to prepare for the elections. Not a single candidate in opposition to the government was registered. Ex-President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov demonstratively falsified the elections and handed over power to his son. There is no legitimacy of the presidential elections held in Turkmenistan. Such concepts as fair and transparent elections do not exist in Turkmenistan. Accordingly, accountability of the authorities to the people is considered an unrealizable dream of the Turkmen people. Transfer of power from father to son is already becoming a tradition in Turkmenistan. According to information from more than 20 polling stations, less than 8 percent of electors participated in the last presidential election in Turkmenistan. The last election held was considered invalid. Many articles of the Constitution of Turkmenistan were violated in the elections held on 12 March 2022. There was rampant fraud at all levels of the polling stations. Although there are many representative offices of international organizations such as OSCE and UN units in Turkmenistan, these election violations do not stop. I have told you about the most important elections taking place in Turkmenistan. The rest of the parliamentary, regional, or local elections are held with the lists of the winning candidates already approved by the President. Elections without elections are the current state of Turkmen civil society. Neither parliamentary elections nor elections to local or regional bodies are free and transparent. These elections are strictly controlled by the authorities. The country is ruled by the national security and police under the leadership of the dictator of the President and his father, the so-called National Leader, the civil society of Turkmenistan has been destroyed, the people have turned into a powerless population, our country is in a catastrophic situation with human rights. The attempts of the people to influence the elections with their votes have led to nothing. The people do not believe that anything can be changed. Today, not a single citizen of Turkmenistan believes that free elections in Turkmenistan are possible. Turkmenistan is a member of many international organizations such as OSCE, and UN, Turkmenistan has ratified and signed many international conventions, but despite this, Turkmenistan does not fulfil its international obligations. I ask all international organizations to pay close attention to all human rights violations in Turkmenistan, which are being grossly violated by the Turkmen authorities led by the dictator’s father and son Berdimuhamedov”.
Video of Turkmen opposition leader Murad Kurbanov’s appeal to the OSCE: