A European Parliamentary delegation is due to arrive April 28 in Turkmenistan on a human rights fact-finding mission. The visit appears to be a prelude to a European Union upgrade of its economic ties with Ashgabat.
The German government appears willing to pay a very high price for use of the Termez air base in Uzbekistan, more than doubling its yearly payments to the authoritarian but strategic Central Asian state.
Turkmenistan’s dismal human rights record will soon be the subject of a review by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT). Watchdog groups rank Turkmenistan’s government as one of the world’s most repressive, and non-governmental organization activists say Turkmen leaders show little interest in reforming.
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are all classified as “authoritarian states,” with Islam Karimov’s regime in Tashkent singled out for particular censure, in the latest edition of the US State Department's annual human rights report.
At a time when Uzbekistan was under European Union sanctions relating to the Andijan massacre, the German government paid 67.9 million euros from 2005-2009 for use of the Termez air base in the Central Asian nation.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s visit to Brussels in early 2011 was something of a PR dud for him. Even so, Uzbek human rights activists contend that the trip emboldened the Uzbek leader to crack down on the last major international rights watchdog in Uzbekistan.
BRUSSELS -- Top NATO and European Union officials met Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Brussels amid strong condemnation from nongovernmental organizations, who bemoan Tashkent’s woeful human rights record.
The Brussels visit is the first in years for the authoritarian leader and has dismayed rights groups, who say it marks his rehabilitation in the West.