Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a virtual hearing about the alarming state of religious freedom in the Russian Federation and Central Asia, and recommendations on how the United States should respond.
This update describes the brutal conditions that religious prisoners face in Turkmenistan, including detention or disappearance in the country’s vast prison system. Muslims, whom the government has vaguely or falsely accused of “Islamic extremism,” represent a disproportionately high number of those who disappeared or are serving harsh sentences.
Turkmenistan is one of the most consistent violators of religious freedom. USCIRF has recommended Turkmenistan as a Country of Particular concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) since 2000. Since then, there has been no substantial progress. This report, titled "Religious Prisoners in Turkmenistan's Gulag," highlights the deeply corrupt, repressive dictatorship and the large number of peaceful religious prisoners.
The government of Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive regimes in the world, and it deserves no special treatment from the United States. Instead, the U.S. government should hold Turkmenistan accountable for its many violations of human rights and religious freedom by lifting its national security waiver.