EU Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategy for Turkmenistan focuses on the following priority areas:
Human rights implementation: continuation of capacity building of public services to implement human rights laws and conventions. Implementation of a number of EU and its MS funded projects will facilitate achieving this objective, notably in the area of: (a) enhancement of the institutional and training capacities of Turkmenistan's Academy of Civil Servants and of relevant state bodies, including the Institute of Human Rights; (b) training on human rights conventions to Turkmenistan judges and lawyers; (c) rule of law.
Judicial reform and prison reform: supporting reforms of the judicial and prison systems as well as access to prisons. Implementation of concrete EU and its MS funded projects will facilitate achieving this objective, notably in the area of the Ombudsperson's role in looking at the status of prisoners.
Freedom of association and expression: supporting the civil society and human rights defenders. Creation of a more favorable environment for the functioning of the civil society organizations is in line with the priorities of Turkmenistan's National Human Rights Action Plan for 2016-2020.
EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue
Human rights are an important aspect of the bilateral relations between the EU and Turkmenistan. Since the launch of this dialogue in 2008, the EU has already held nine meetings of the annual Human Rights Dialogue with Turkmenistan authorities, allowing for constructive and open discussions on a number of issues related to human rights and democratization, including: prison conditions; torture and enforced disappearances; judicial reforms and the rule of law; freedom of association, of expression and of belief; role of independent Ombudsman.
EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World
Every year, the Council of the EU adopts the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World. The 2015 report was adopted on 20 June 2016.
This document includes a chapter devoted to Turkmenistan. The EU continued to engage in human rights and democracy discussions with Turkmenistan in various settings, including the Human Rights Dialogue and Joint committee. The EU, together with UNDP and OHCHR, supported Turkmenistan to draft its first National Human Rights Action Plan. The EU continued its support to the country with training of Turkmen judges and lawyers on human rights Conventions, and within its regional Rule of Law Platform, with seminars on the Ombudsman institution and the civil society.
The EU continued the implementation of its human rights related projects, bilateral and regional. Under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), it supported the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) with a EUR 0.7 million project providing training seminars for Turkmen judges and lawyers on human rights Conventions. Under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the EU Rule of Law Platform for Central Asia, a EUR 1,8 million regional project, organized seminars in Turkmenistan notably on the Ombudsman and on the role of civil society. A EUR 4.5 million new bilateral project 'Support to Capacity Building in Public Administration' aims at increasing the qualifications of civil servants and institutional strengthening.