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Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Ignore Human Rights Standards, charges Rights Group - 2003-07-21

An international rights monitoring group says Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have consistently ignored human rights standards contained in their partnership and cooperation agreements with the European Union.

Human Rights Watch is urging the EU to press for real improvements in human rights in the Central Asian nations when EU foreign ministers meet with Kazakh and Kyrgyz officials later this week.

Human Rights Watch says both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have repressed political opposition, silenced independent media and resisted international efforts to promote reform.

The rights group says if the European Union agrees to talk with the two former Soviet republics without definite signs of progress it could undermine efforts toward human rights and democracy.