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Freedom House Calls for Robust Human Rights Provisions in EU -Turkmenistan Trade Agreement
Freedom House strongly urges the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament to attach tough human rights provisions to its interim trade agreement with Turkmenistan.
On October 3, 2006, the Committee on International Trade is scheduled to vote on provisions to structure its trade relationship with Turkmenistan, one of the most repressive regimes in the Eurasia region of the European Neighborhood. Any bilateral relations made by the EU and other Western countries with Turkmenistan should emphasize human rights and democratic standards above trade and energy considerations.
Labeled by Freedom House as one the "Worst of the Worst" countries in its performance on civil and political rights, Turkmenistan as an energy rich and democracy poor country continues to curtail all basic rights of its citizens, isolating and impoverishing its populace while enjoying high energy price revenues and strategic trade relations.
"Allowing trade and energy considerations to override human rights considerations would set a bad precedent for the European Union in its dealings with is Eastern neighborhood. This is especially problematic at a time when democratic practices and human rights are meant to be more fully considered in all EU external relations with this region," said Kristie Evenson, director of Freedom House Europe.
Continued engagement with Turkmenistan is necessary, but should not be made at the cost of turning a blind eye to regime practices that are increasingly in contradiction of European and international common democratic values and practices. Clear human rights clauses that are reflective of shared European and international democratic values must be added to the trade agreement.
Freedom House, an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has monitored political rights and civil liberties in Turkmenistan since 1991.
Additional information about Turkmenistan is available online at:
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.