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AKIPRESS.COM - Human Rights Watch claims the government of Turkmenistan has "forcibly evicted homeowners in Ashgabat and demolished their homes without adequate compensation" in preparation for the Asian Indoor and Marital Arts Games.
The Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) and Human Rights Watch said the move is aimed at "standardizing the city’s appearance."
Authorities have also systematically demolished extensions and additions homeowners have made to their properties, without allowing them to appeal the demolition decisions to a court, according to HRW.
The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) are scheduled to take place in Ashgabat from September 17 to 27. An estimated 8,000 athletes from dozens of countries are expected to participate.
"The Turkmen government should ensure that Ashgabat homeowners and residents who have been forcibly evicted get fair and adequate compensation for the loss of their property and costs incurred due to the forced evictions, TIHR and Human Rights Watch said. Turkmen authorities should immediately take steps to provide Ashgabat residents who were denied compensation, or who were left homeless because of the city’s infrastructure and beautification projects, access to an effective judicial mechanism capable of promptly and fairly awarding them their compensation and any other appropriate remedy.
Expropriation, evictions, and house demolitions carried out in preparation for wide-scale urban renewal and beautification have been taking place throughout Ashgabat over the course of almost two decades, in a way that grossly violates the right to private property and adequate housing, the organizations said. But the scale and pace of demolitions and violations of property and housing rights have intensified over the last five years, as authorities have geared up for the games," the statement said.