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Presidency Press Statement: EU and Turkmenistan hold first round of human rights talks

The European Union and Turkmenistan held the first round of the human rights dialogue on 24 July in Ashgabat. The meeting, which took place in a constructive atmosphere, covered the human rights situation in Turkmenistan as well as cooperation with the UN mechanisms.

At the meeting, the EU raised a number of specific concerns about the human rights situation in Turkmenistan, in particular regarding freedom of opinion and assembly, independence of the judiciary and functioning of the civil society. Other concerns raised related to freedom of thought and religion, prison conditions and torture, rights of minorities as well as freedom of movement and forced displacement and rights of children. Cooperation with the UN mechanisms and with OSCE were likewise discussed.

The EU Troika was led by: for the Slovenian Presidency, Mrs. Smiljana Knez, Head of the Human Rights Unit in the Slovene Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Riina Kionka, the Personal Representative of the EU High Representative Javier Solana for Human Rights, Mr.Toby King from the European Commission, Unit for Human Rights and Democratisation and Mr. Jacques Pellet, Head of the human rights department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the forthcoming French Presidency, also took part in the dialogue.

The Turkmen delegation was led by Mrs. Shirin Achmedova, Director of the National Institute on Democracy and Human Rights of Turkmenistan.


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Date: 26.06.2008