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The Helsinki Group of Turkmenistan was founded in July 2002 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The group was forced to operate underground but nevertheless its members were systematically persecuted and repressed by the Turkmen authorities, and finally were forced to go into exile.
The Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR), the successor organization of the Helsinki Group of Turkmenistan, was established as an independent public organization and registered on 17 November 2004 in Vienna, Austria.
The organization’s primary focus is monitoring national minority rights, freedom of associations, freedom of speech, child labour and the education system in Turkmenistan.
Since 2004 and up until now, the monitoring activities have been conducted with the support of the Open Society Institute. TIHR also enjoys the support of “The National Endowment for Democracy”, “The Norwegian Helsinki Committee”, “Front Line”. Information obtained in the course of monitoring is reported to various departments of the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, many international human rights organizations and mass media.
Based on the aforementioned materials, the following TIHR reports have been prepared: “On Freedom of Associations in Turkmenistan”, “Education in Turkmenistan”, “National Minorities in Turkmenistan: Education, Culture and Social Sphere”, “On the State of the Freedom of Mass Media, the Right to Freedom of Speech and Free Access to Information in Turkmenistan”, “Turkmenistan. The reform of the education system” and “Turkmenistan. Human rights in the era of the great Renaissance”. In cooperation with the International League for Human Rights, alternative reports were written for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. In conjunction with World Organization Against Torture and International Federation for Human Rights, two reports were published on the procedure of the UN Universal Periodic Review.
TIHR actively cooperates with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International League for Human Rights, “Memorial” Human Rights Center, Forum 18, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, Front Line and other international human rights organizations.