The Festival dedicates its 2021 edition to Soltan Achilova

Photojournalist Soltan Achilova reports on systematic human rights abuses in Turkmenistan.

Dessin : © Iris Petit

The 19th edition of the FIFDH is dedicated to Soltan Achilova, a photojournalist and independent reporter based in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. As a journalist and activist in one of the world’s most restrictive countries, she is one of the rare Turkmen reporters to work openly with foreign-based independent media - Radio Azatlyk, Chronicles of Turkmenistan, Free Europe - thus exposing herself to repression by a government that tolerates no dissident voices.

In Turkmenistan, freedom of the press is virtually non-existent. Journalists are muzzled, independent media are banned, and the Internet is censored. Subjected to a ban on leaving the country, regular detentions and constant physical assault, the photojournalist has seen the Turkmen government employ every possible effort to silence her.

Despite these threats and intimidations, Soltan Achilova has been reporting for more than a decade on systematic human rights abuses and documenting the daily life of Turkmen citizens: a failing health system, water shortages, forced evictions... Nominated for the prestigious Martin Ennals Award 2021 presented on 18 January in Geneva, the Festival dedicates this 19th edition to her.


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