Turkmenistan IDP Figures Analysis

IDMC estimates that there were at least 4,000 IDPs in Turkmenistan as of May 2015


Precise figures of IDPs are not available. The government does not acknowledge internal displacement or allow independent organisations or political opposition to operate. It has also included international human rights NGOs on a list of organisations barred from entering the country (Amnesty International, 2012).

IDMC’s estimate is an aggregate of figures compiled from different non-governmental sources:

·         3,000 IDPs from the village of Darvaza, 200 km north of Ashgabat, were displaced following the destruction of their village in 2004, based on a presidential decree(Memorial, 24 September 2004);

·         900 people, mostly ethnic Kazakhs, were forcibly evicted in 2004 after President Niyazov reportedly ordered the destruction of their village 10 km from the city of Turkmenbashi (International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, 16 July 2004);

·         25 families, or some 150 people, of Uzbek descent were displaced from the Dashoguz province close to the border with Uzbekistan in the first part of 2003 (Open Society Institute Turkmenistan Project, August 2005):

Domestic law allows for the forced resettlement of individuals as a punishment for certain crimes as well as a means to decrease the population in dense areas (GoT, 19 November 2002; OSI, August 2005). The government has forcibly relocated human rights activists, members of ethnic minorities and their family members to barren areas, resulting in internal exile (UN CESCR, 2011). One report indicates that a small number of the displaced agreed to move and received assistance from the government, but the vast majority did not (IOM, 2005).

Sources of these reports on forced evictions were based in Turkmenistanand have remained anonymous for security reasons. Due to the lack of independent sources and the threat human rights defenders and activists face of government reprisal, the facts surrounding displacements are difficult to verify and the information largely anecdotal (IOM, 2005). As a result, and given the hostile climate for independent scrutiny of government programmes, it has not been possible to confirm or corroborate the data.

IDMC uses only the most credible accurate information available. Notwithstanding the caveats and limitations of the source information described above, IDMC believes this to be the best data and is grateful to the partners for sharing it.