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TURKMENISTAN LAWS

Law of Turkmenistan on Public Associations
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THE LAW OF TURKMENISTAN ON PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS

The present law, according to the Constitution of Turkmenistan, is directed at creating a normative-legal base for fulfillment of the rights of the citizens to form public associations and defines the legal and organizations core for formation, activities, reorganization and liquidation of public associations and also deals with the matters arising in this connections.

CHAPTER 1: THE GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Concept of Public Association

A public association is a voluntary, self-governed, non-commercial body of individuals created at the initiative of and by citizens, aimed at a common objective(s) as reflected in the charter of the association.

The citizens create public associations by their own choice and have the right to join such associations on conditions of observance of their charter(s).

Article 2. The Legislation of Turkmenistan About Public Associations

The legislation of Turkmenistan about public associations is based on the Constitution of Turkmenistan, conventional principles and norms of the international law, and also other normative-legal instruments of Turkmenistan.

The peculiarities connected to creation, activity, reorganization and liquidation of other kinds of public associations are governed by special rules, as formulated within the present law. The present law would regulate activity of such public associations before the formulation of special rules and also the activity of public associations still not bracketed by special rules.

In case of international contracts, separate rules, where available under Turkmen law, would be applicable.

Article 3. Scope of The Present Law

The present law encompasses the activities of public associations formed by the citizens except for religious organizations, commercial wings of non-commercial organizations, political parties, trade unions and other public bodies covered by special laws of Turkmenistan.

The present law also covers the activities of organizations, branches or representations of foreign public associations functioning in the territory of Turkmenistan.

Article 4. Restrictions On Creation And Activities Of Public Associations

Formation or activity of any organization with the intent of bringing violent change in the constitutional government of Turkmenistan, undermining the safety of the state, promoting violence, acting against the constitutional rights and liberties of the citizens, propagandizing war, encouraging racial, ethnic, social, religious discord, encroaching on the health and/or morals of the people, and also creation of militant organizations is strictly forbidden.

Article 5. The Founders, Members And Participants Of Public Associations

Adult citizens of Turkmenistan can be founders, members and participants of public associations (if membership criteria is not defined separately in the charter of the organization or special laws of Turkmenistan)

Members of youth organizations should not be less than 14 years old citizens of Turkmenistan.

Members of children's organizations should not be less than 8 years old citizens of Turkmenistan.

Conditions for acceptance and withdrawal of members, including conditions about age limits, should be prescribed within the charter of the association.

Membership or non-membership of any public association does not abridge or curtail the basic rights, freedoms, benefits and privileges of citizens as granted by the state except when specially stipulated by the laws of Turkmenistan.

The state bodies cannot be founders, members and participants of public associations.

In case of international public associations, foreign citizens and stateless persons permanently living in Turkmenistan, and foreign public associations recognized as legal persons in Turkmenistan or abroad, can also be the members of such public associations.

CHAPTER II: THE ORGANIZATIONAL-LEGAL FORMS OF PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS

Article 6. The Organizational-Legal Forms of Public Associations

Public associations in Turkmenistan can take any of these organizational-legal forms:

Public Organization

Public Movement

Public Fund

Amateur Performers' Organization

Article 7. Public Organization

Public organization is a public association based on the membership [of citizens], created on the basis of a joint charter for protection of common interests and/or achievement of authorized objectives.

General body is the highest decision making body of the public organization. A managing body, collectively elected by the general body, would look after regular, day-to-day functioning of the public organization.

Article 8. Public Movement

A public movement consists of members and general public (who are not members), pursuing social, political, and social or other goals.

A general [open] meeting of the public movement is its highest decision making body. A managing body, elected during a general body meeting, may takeover day-to-day regulatory functions.

Article 9. Public Fund

The public fund is a non-commercial fund and represents a public association not having membership, the purpose of which is to obtain and accumulate property from voluntary donations for social purposes, excluding the receipt of donations from any source prohibited by the government of Turkmenistan.

The founders and managers of the public fund may not use the assets of the fund for their own interests.

The managing body of the public fund is formed by the founders and/or members or by elections during the general body meeting of the fund.

Article 10. Amateur Performers' Organization

Organization of amateur performers is a public association without any members. The purpose of such organization is to shape joint decisions on various social problems faced by citizens at their place of work, study, or residence, satisfy the needs of any number of citizens whose interested are connected to achievement of authorized purposes and realization of the programmes of the body of public amateur performers in the area of its formation.

The body of public amateur performers is formed under the initiative of the citizens, interested in solution of specified problems, and carries out its work according to a self-governing charter formulated by its founders. It does not have a supreme decision making body.

Article 11. Unions of Public Associations

Public associations, regardless of their organizational-legal form, may create unions of public associations on the basis of their charter or constitutional contract. Such unions assume the status of a legal person immediately upon registration by the government.

The present law of Turkmenistan governs creation, activity, reorganization and liquidation of unions of public associations.

Article 12. Principles of Creation And Activity Of Public Associations

The public associations, irrespective of their organizational-legal form, are equal before the law. The activity of the associations is based on the principles of voluntary service, equality, self-governance and legality. Public associations are free to determine their internal structure, purpose, objectives, forms and method of activity.

The activity of the public association should be transparent and their programme should enjoy popular support.

Article 13. Territorial Sphere Of Activity Of Public Associations

Local, national and international public associations can work in Turkmenistan.

A public association created in Turkmenistan can admit foreign entities in one of its structural divisions such as a branch or as a representation if its charter so permits.

Any public association whose activities are spread to the entire territory of Turkmenistan or to most of its provinces would be considered a national public association.

Any public association whose activity is restricted to the territory of a province, city, district, settlement or village would be considered a local public association.

Article 14. The State And Public Associations

Intervention by state bodies and their officials into the affairs of public associations and intervention of public associations into the affairs of state bodies and their officials is prohibited except as provided in this law.

The state protects rights and lawful interests of public associations, renders support to their activity and adjusts legislation to grant them tax holiday and other privileges and advantages. The state support for public associations can be expressed in the shape of targeted grant for the individual or common programmes of public associations; conclusion of any kind of contract with them, including fulfillment of work and grant of services; allocation of state order for fulfillment of various state programmes on competitive basis amongst a number of public associations.

The questions concerning the interests of public associations, where stipulated in the legislation of Turkmenistan, would be dealt with by state bodies with consultation of concerned public associations or in agreement with them.

The paid workers of public associations would be covered by labour and social insurance schemes of Turkmenistan.

CHAPTER III. CREATION OF PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS

Article 15. Creation of Public Associations

A public association can be formed at the initiative of no less than 5 founding members who should be citizens of Turkmenistan. In cases, where permitted by law, Turkmen citizens and foreign citizens and legal persons [such as public associations] can jointly form a public association. International public associations carry out their activities according to the laws of Turkmenistan.

International and national public associations can be created by participation of 50 and 500 members respectively.

The decision about creation of a public association, statement of its charter, formation of its managing and control/audit committee, should be adopted during a general body meeting.

A public association assumes the status of a legal person as soon as the ministry of justice (Adalat) enters its data and details in its central state register for legal persons.

Article 16. The Charter Of Public Association

The organization and structure of a public association are governed by its charter.

The charter should reflect:

The name, purpose, objectives of public association, its organizational-legal form;

Territorial limits in which the public association plans to work, structure of the public association, its managing and control/audit bodies;

Conditions for granting and withdrawing membership, rights and obligations of members;

The competence and order of formation of managing committees, terms of their power;

Place of work of the regular managing committee [business office];

Proceedings of the session of the managing committee and the copy of its decision(s);

Sources of income and other properties of the association, obligations of the public association and its structural subdivisions about management of property;

Procedure for modification and amendment to its charter;

Procedure for its reorganization, liquidation, and disposal of property/assets after liquidation of the association.

For public funds, in addition to the information provided in the first part of this article, the charter should provide:

The minimum size and kind of donations;

Instructions for use of donations.

The charter of a public association can contain other rules to cover the situations related to the activity of the association as long as these instructions do not contradict the laws of Turkmenistan.

Article 17. State Registration Of Public Associations

The public associations, regardless of their category, are registered by the ministry of justice (Adalat) of Turkmenistan, in accordance with established civil code of Turkmenistan as promulgated by President Saparmurat Turkmenbashy and other laws of Turkmenistan.

The public associations must be included in the central register of Turkmenistan for legal persons.

Unregistered public associations are prohibited to work in Turkmenistan. The person(s), carrying activities in the name of an unregistered public association is (are) answerable under the laws of Turkmenistan.

The following documents must be submitted for registration of a public association:

Application, signed by all founding members and members of the managing committee, with their names, surnames and patronymics;

The charter of the association in duplicate;

Minutes of the meeting of the general body, containing information about decision to create the public association, about the statement of its charter and about formation of managing and control/audit committees;

Information about the founders;

Documents about payment of membership fees [if any];

Document about legal address of the public association.

In case of international public associations, besides the documents mentioned above, documents confirming presence outside Turkmenistan and its structural subdivisions such as branch (branches), representations, where applicable, should also be submitted.

Foreign public associations, when registering their structural divisions in Turkmenistan, must submit duly notarized copies of creation of the basic public association in the country of its origin.

The documents for registration must be submitted within one month of the decision of the general body to form the public association.

The public association may be registered within one month of submission of documents mentioned in this article.

Changes in the charter of the public association and factual changes about registration details before the registration are filed in the same order as the registration of the public association and take force from the moment of registration.

Subsequent changes can be incorporated on payment of fees as prescribed under the laws of Turkmenistan.

Youth organizations and children's organizations can be registered after election of their managing committees where at least one person is an adult.

The ministry of justice (Adalat) of Turkmenistan maintains the register of public associations and issues registration certificates.

Article 18. Refusal to Register Public Association

Authorities can refuse to register a public association in the following cases:

If the charter of the association contradicts the constitution of Turkmenistan, articles 4, 5, 16, 17 of the present law and/or other laws of Turkmenistan;

If a public association with the same name exists already on the territory of Turkmenistan;

If complete documents are not submitted or if they are not prepared in proper order;

If it is found that the documents submitted contain false information; If the name of the association is offensive to the moral [values], religious or national feelings of the citizens;

If one of the founders of the public association has been previously sentenced for a crime, especially a serious crime.

In case of refusal to register a public association, the applicant(s) would be informed in writing about the reasons for refusal.

The refusal for registration of a public association is not an obstacle for resubmission of documents after elimination of factors that caused refusal in the first place.

Final decision in case of repeat applications would be made in accordance with the present law.

Article 19. Appeal in Case of Refusal of Registration of a Public Association

The decision for refusal of registration of a public association can be appealed against in a court of law (Kaziat).

Article 20. Symbols of a Public Association

A public association can have flags, emblems, pennants and other symbols. The symbols of a public association should not resemble the state symbols of Turkmenistan and they should also not resemble the symbols of foreign states and international organizations. The symbols of a public association should not serve the propaganda purposes as stipulated in the article 4 of this law. Symbols of a public association are subject to registration according to the laws of Turkmenistan.

CHAPTER IV: THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS

Article 21. Rights of Public Associations

For realization of their authorized objectives, the public associations have the right:

To distribute information about their activities;

To participate in the development of decisions of state bodies in the order and manner prescribed by the present law and other laws of Turkmenistan;

To hold assemblies, meetings, demonstrations and processions in the order and manner established by the laws of Turkmenistan;

To establish mass media and carryout publishing activities according to the laws of Turkmenistan;

To represent and protect the rights and lawful interests of their members and other citizens in state bodies and public associations;

To act with initiative in public life, to make proposals to state bodies;

To participate in election campaigns (if the charter of the public association so states).

The public associations can cooperate with international public organizations, support international contacts and communications and conclude agreements with participation of ministry of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan.

Rights of special kinds of public associations can be stipulated under separate laws.

Article 22. Obligations of Public Associations

Public associations should observe the laws of Turkmenistan including the responsibility to remain within their authorized zone of activity, follow conventional principles and international norms, and also follow the norms stipulated by their charter and other constituting documents;

Public associations should submit annual report to the ministry of justice (Adalat) of Turkmenistan about their activities, indicating the valid address where their managing committee meets for regular work;

Public associations, on enquiry from the ministry of justice (Adalat) of Turkmenistan, must submit the copies of decisions of the managing committee and office holders of the association, and also annual and quarterly reports about the activities of the association as submitted to the taxation authorities.

Public associations must inform beforehand ministry of justice about implementation of important decisions and allow the representative of the ministry of justice to be present on such occasions.

Public associations must assist the representative of the ministry of justice to ascertain whether the association is achieving its authorized purpose(s) and whether it is observing the laws of Turkmenistan.

Public associations must immediately report to the ministry of justice any change in the facts that were reported at the time of registration.


The public associations are obliged to register in the ministry of justice any projects or programmes where foreign technical or other help is involved.

Article 23. The Records of Public Associations

The public associations must maintain account books, maintain and present statistical reports as required by the laws of Turkmenistan.

CHAPTER V: THE PROPERTY OF PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS, MANAGEMENT OF THE PROPERTY OF PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS

Article 24. The Property Of Public Associations

Public association can have property in the shape of building, structure, housing fund, transport, equipment, transport vehicles, property for cultural, educational and sanitary purposes, monetary resources, shares, other securities and/or other property, necessary for sustaining the activities of the association as determined by its charter.

Public association property can include publishing houses and mass media created from its own sources for the authorized purposes.

For reasons of state and public security or in accordance with international agreements, the government of Turkmenistan can deny the public associations to own certain kinds of property.

The property of a public association is protected by law.

Article 25. Financing of Public Associations

The basic sources of financing the activities of a public association can be:

Introductory and regular payments by members;

Voluntary payments and donations;

Target financing and receipts including grants from legal persons and foreign non-commercial and budgetary organizations as allowed by the laws of Turkmenistan;

Proceeds from lectures, exhibitions, lottery, auctions, sports and other events, as provided for in the charter of the association;

Income from enterprise activities, civil law settlements;

Other receipts not forbidden by the laws of Turkmenistan.

Public associations, whose charter provides for participation in elections, may not receive financial or other material help from foreign states, organizations, citizens or entities for activities connected with preparation and holding of elections.

Article 26. Rights of Property in Public Associations

Public associations are the owners of their property. Each separate member of the association does not have any claim to a share of the property belonging to the organization.

Structural divisions and branches of a public association carryout their activities according to the charter of the organization whereas the public organization remains the owner of the property.

Structural divisions and branches of the public association have the right to possess and use the property allotted to them by the parent organization.

In case of a public association comprising of several legal persons [local public organizations], any property acquired or created for the umbrella organization would belong to the umbrella organization. Any property belonging to individual component organizations [legal persons] would remain theirs.

On behalf of public movements and public funds, their managing committees should constantly monitor the property created or acquired through their own means, as specified by the charter of such movements and funds.

Organizations of amateur performers are the owners of their own property.

Article 27. Enterprise Activity Of Public Associations

Public associations can carryout enterprise [business] activity as stipulated by their charter. Income from such activities must be spent according to the provisions of their charter only. Entrepreneurial activity should be within the confines of civil code as promulgated by President Saparmurat Turkmenbashy and other laws of Turkmenistan.

Public associations can create enterprises and they can also acquire property to run such enterprises. The enterprises created by public associations should make budgetary payments in the size and order as required by the laws of Turkmenistan.

The income of the entrepreneurial activity of a public association cannot be redistributed among the members or participants of the association and should only be spent for achievement of its authorized objectives. Use of such income for charitable purposes is permitted even if it is not specified in its charter.

Article 28. The Control And Supervision Of Activity Of Public Associations

The ministry of justice of Turkmenistan and its sub-organs in provinces exercise control over the public associations to ensure that associations are conforming to their charter. They may ask the managing committees for their constituent documents; to request the participation of their representatives in certain steps of spending; to receive explanations from the members of the associations and other citizens on questions related to observance of the charter; can issue written warning in case infringement of the laws of Turkmenistan is revealed.

Ministry of justice can cancel the registration of a public association if the association slips into entrepreneurial activity as the basic activity of the association or if it appears that it has become impossible to achieve the stipulated objectives of the association.

If, within a year, the association has received more than two written warnings or instructions to refrain from infringements or if the association fails to report for a year any changes to the facts reported at the time of registration, the ministry can file a case with the court of law for liquidation of such public association.

Office of the general prosecutor of Turkmenistan supervises the observance of the laws of Turkmenistan by public associations.

Financial and taxation authorities exercise control over public associations to monitor their the size and means of their income and to ensure that the public associations are paying taxes as prescribed by the laws of Turkmenistan.

Respective state bodies would exercise control over public associations for adherence to the norms and standards related to ecology, fire control and sanitary-epidemiological regulations.

CHAPTER VI: RESPONSIBILITY IN CASE OF INFRINGEMENT OF THE LAWS OF TURKMENISTAN RELATED TO PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS

Article 29. Responsibility in Case of Infringement of the Laws of Turkmenistan Related to Public Associations

State bodies and their officials causing damage to public associations owing to infringement of this law or any other laws of Turkmenistan, including rules for specified bodies, would be answerable according to the laws of Turkmenistan.

Article 30. The Responsibility Of Public Associations For Infringement Of The Laws Of Turkmenistan

The public associations, in case of infringement of the laws of Turkmenistan, would be answerable in accordance with this law and other laws of Turkmenistan.

Article 31. Stay Of Activity Of Public Associations

In case of infringement of the constitution, laws of Turkmenistan and also the rules of their own charter, ministry of justice can move the court of law to freeze the activities of such public associations.

If the public association rectifies the situation by eliminating infringement(s) that caused the stay order, it can appeal to the court for vacating the stay order.

In case the public association fails to remove the infringements within the time period specified in the stay order, the ministry of justice can appeal to the court of law for liquidation of the public association.

Article 32. Termination Of Activity And Liquidation Of Public Association

A public association is liquidated and it activity stops under conditions specified in its charter; by the decision of its general body; decision of a court of law; and cancellation of registration by the ministry of justice of Turkmenistan.

A court of law can liquidate a public association in case of:

Infringements of the requirements of the article 4 of this law;

Infringements on the rights and freedom of citizens;

Numerous or serious infringements of the laws of Turkmenistan or other normative-legal instruments or systematic contradiction of its authorized objectives;

Failure to report for a year any change in the facts that were reported at the time of filing application for registration;

Reporting of incorrect information at the time of registration.

Ministry of justice of Turkmenistan can move the court of law for liquidation of a public association under the provisions of this article.

Liquidation of a public association under the decision of a court of law means the interdiction of its activities.

Liquidation of a public association takes effect according to the laws of Turkmenistan.

At the time of liquidation, current businesses should be completed, monetary value of residual property should be determined, creditors should be satisfied and remaining property should be distributed among the competent persons.

The charter may determine certain competent persons to accept the property. In case of absence of such definition, the ministry of justice would exercise discretion to transfer the property to one or several public associations, provided such organizations are pursuing same or similar objectives as the public association that has been liquidated. In case of absence of such organizations, the property can be transferred to charitable organizations or to the state.

The information about liquidation of a public association is subject to publication. The distribution of property is permitted only after 3 months from the date of publication of the information.

Information about liquidation of a public association must be conveyed to the body that maintains the central state register of legal persons for removal of the name of the liquidated public association from the public records.

CHAPTER VII: FINAL RULES

Article 33. Final Rules

The charter and other constituent documents of public associations, created before the promulgation of this law, must be adjusted to conform to this law.

The Law of Turkmenistan "About Public Associations in Turkmenistan" issued on 12 November 1991, loses legal force on the date of promulgation of this law.


PRESIDENT OF TURKMENISTAN SAPARMURT NIYAZOV

21 October 2003, Ashgabat


Unofficial translation by www.NewsCentralAsia.com