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Right to housing
Housing right is not in the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t speak about housing right, but well about the property right :
Article 9 : Property is inviolable. Turkmenistan affirms the right to own private property such as the means of production, land, and other material and intellectual items of value. They may be owned likewise by the government and associations of citizens. The law establishes objects which may only be the property of the government. The government guarantees equal protection and equal conditions for the development of all types and fon-ns of property. Confiscation of property is not allowed, except for property which is acquired in an unlawful manner. Forced uncompensated estrangement of property is allowed only in situations enumerated by law.
The system of “propiska”
The system of “propiska”, which required every citizen to declare a permanent residence, always limited the rights of the people of Turkmenistan to housing, employment, social services, health and education. This system had also created a fertile ground for corruption, of bribery often constituting a way around the rules. The “propiska” continued to be used by the authorities to deter people from moving into the country, including the capital gain to find work. If a person decides to move in with a relative without “propiska”, the latter lost the right to employment and social benefits (retirement was no longer paid, for example). Police and security services often brandished the threat of the loss of the “propiska” to prevent people complaining of police ill-treatment. (1)
Yet in 2001, the Council of Europe had already positioned against the practice, which dates from the time of the Russian Tsars and brought up to date by Stalin in 1932 : “The Assembly reiterates that freedom of movement and choice of residence in within a country are fundamental human rights as guaranteed by a number of international legal instruments, especially the universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on human Rights “. (Art. 1 – recommendation from 1544 to 2001 – EC)
Mr. Hajiyev, Turkmen economic analyst based in Bulgaria accused the Turkmen authorities to abuse the lack of strong legal protection for the property. “It allows them to demolish any residential building and expel its inhabitants.” He added “This is related to corruption – so that the land allocated for the development, contracts are given to insiders, and properties are affected in the same way.” (2)
- Housing and Land Rights Violation Database in each country (Housing and Land Network – HIC): http://hlrn.org/welcome_violation.php#.VD-IVCi7_vQ
- Zero Evictions Campaign (International Alliance of Inhabitants): http://www.habitants.org/zero_evictions_campaign
- Data sets on agricultural land grabbing in the world (GRAIN): https://www.grain.org/bulletin_board/entries/4429-new-data-sets-on-land-grabbing
- The Online Public Database on Land Deals – Global Observatory (Land Matrix): http://landmatrix.org/en/
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS
High rising prices
Following the article “Housing Market Confused but Booming in Turkmenistan” (2), property prices are rising fast in Turkmenistan, where even seemingly unaffordable luxury apartments are changing hands. Estate agents in Turkmenistan say housing prices reached their highest point in June. A modest two-room apartment in the Mir district of the capital Ashgabat is now selling for 70 or 80,000 US dollars, a third more than last year. Prices are also rising outside the capital. “Property prices have been amazing recently – they’re like Europe,” an estate agent in Ashgabat says. “Despite this, the apartments are selling and being bought.”
The housing market in this Central Asian consists of buildings dating from the Soviet period, plus a more recent sprinkling of luxury flats in high-rise blocks that cost about 1,000 dollars per square metre. These pricy homes are often bought by companies or other organisations, which then let their employees acquire them on affordable mortgages.
Local commentators attribute the rise in prices to a mix of factors :
- An overall shortage of housing to meet the demand
- The authorities’ habit of tearing buildings down at will
- The general lack of a legislative framework governing the market.
Quality of housing
Informal housing / slum / Homeless
ROLE OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
Social – Public housing
Other kind of public help
Bibliography & Sitography
- Amnesty International, Report over the Human Rights in Turkmenistan, 2009
- News Briefing Central Asia, article “Housing Market Confused but Booming in Turkmenistan”, 2014 – https://iwpr.net/global-voices/housing-market-confused-booming-turkmenistan