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Ban Ki-moon begins trip to Central Asia amid rights concerns

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Ban Ki-moon began a five-day trip to Tajikistan
Ban Ki-moon began a five-day trip to Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday began a five-day trip to ex-Soviet Central Asia with a visit to Tajikistan, as advocacy groups pressed him to raise rights concerns with the region’s governments, according to an AFP report.
Ban, who last visited the region in 2010, attended a high-level international conference on water in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. He will then spend a day each in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan before rounding off his trip in Turkmenistan on June 13.
Referring to the region’s “alarming” rights record, Human Rights Watch on Tuesday demanded Ban put discussions about fundamental freedoms at the forefront of his discussions with the leaders of the five countries.
Speaking on his arrival in Tajikistan in comments carried by the UN’s official radio station, Ban confirmed rights would be on the agenda of his meetings with leaders in the five states, in addition to a “multitude of cross-border problems” including water use and the trafficking of Afghan opiates throughout the region.

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