News / Europe

Clinton Presses Central Asian States on Human Rights

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, beginning a three-day Central Asian trip in Kazakhstan, said Tuesday the Obama administration will continue to press for human rights progress in the region. Clinton is attending the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, in Astana.



It is the first summit of the OSCE since 1999 and the first to be held in a former Soviet republic. And Clinton is making clear that the Obama administration remains committed to the human rights provisions of the 1975 Helsinki accords on which the OSCE was founded, and particularly as they apply to Central Asia.

At a town hall meeting in Astana of students and civil society activists from across the region, Clinton praised Kazakhstan for holding the event, even while reiterating U.S. concerns about human rights and the pace of democracy-building in the country.

The secretary said the Kazakh government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, overall, has made more progress than any other in the region, in economic development and other areas.

And she said it deserves enormous credit for completing earlier this month, with U.S. assistance, the shut-down of a Soviet-era plutonium plant and the securing of a vast stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear material.

"I think non-proliferation is a human rights issue," said Clinton. "I think the effort to go after the nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands, that can used to terrorize, maim, kill people, contaminate large areas, is a fundamental human rights issue. And in this area Kazakhstan has been a world leader."

Clinton will join heads of state and fellow foreign ministers of the 56-country OSCE in summit sessions Wednesday and also meet senior Kazakh officials including President Nazarbayev.

Thursday she makes stops in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan before flying on to attend a privately-sponsored security conference in Bahrain.

Clinton will be the highest-level U.S. official to visit Kyrgystan since an explosion of ethnic violence earlier this year toppled the government of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

The country has since had a constitutional referendum, widely-praised parliamentary elections in October and the formation this week of a new coalition government. The Secretary said the United States and all those concerned about Kyrgyzstan need to support the emerging democracy there.

"It is a very difficult path that they have chosen for themselves, but the United States will do everything we can to support them," said the secretary of state. "I very much appreciate the role of the government of Kazakhstan, which has been extremely helpful in support Kyrgyzstan. And we have to keep working together. We have to do everything possible to help them succeed at their important effort to bring democracy to Kyrgyzstan."

The Secretary told a questioner she would raise the issue of jailed human rights activists in Uzbekistan "at the highest levels" when she visits Tashkent late Thursday.

She said the United States will make similar representations with leaders of Turkmenistan - the Central Asian state widely held to have the region's worst human rights record - though it is not on her current itinerary.

Clinton is expected to have several bilateral meetings with other officials at the OSCE summit, which has attracted, among others, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More