June 13, 2015

"The failure to respect human rights, build accountable institutions, promote political participation, and ensure opportunity for all creates gaps..."

Reuters Continued crackdowns on human rights in Central Asia could backfire by encouraging extremist ideologies, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday, winding up a visit to the volatile former Soviet region. By Marat Gurt

'Ban chose Turkmenistan, viewed by human rights groups as one of the world's most despotic and isolated regimes, to deliver a passionate message to the resource-rich, mainly Muslim Central Asian region that borders Russia, China, Iran and Afghanistan.

'The vast area once ruled by Moscow and comprising Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, has long faced criticism from the West and rights groups over its record on basic freedoms, ethnic minorities, judicial independence and its lack of accountable institutions.

'Speaking to students in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, Ban said he was impressed by the region's economic growth since his last visit five years ago, but added: "I have also heard concerns about the deterioration of some aspects of human rights – a shrinking of democratic space."'

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