Tajikistan

Central Asia: Deputy Rights Commissioner begins mission

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ANKARA, 3 March (IRIN) - The United Nations Deputy for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Bertrand Ramcharan, arrived in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe on Monday, as part of a 14-day mission to Central Asia. The visit comes as international pressure groups say deteriorating human rights in the region are a growing cause for concern.
"This visit is an opportunity for the Deputy High Commissioner to discuss with the different governments how they can better adhere to their international human rights obligations," Jose Luis Diaz, a press officer for the OCHR told IRIN from the Swiss city of Geneva.

His mission comes as a follow-up to the official visit to the region of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last October.

According to an agency statement on Friday, in addition to Tajikistan, Ramcharan would travel to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in an effort to enhance dialogue and technical cooperation between the OHCHR and the Central Asian republics. Particular emphasis would be focused on the implementation of international human rights conventions and norms in the five countries.

Diaz noted at the moment technical cooperation currently existed only in Tajikistan, and the Deputy High Commissioner would be working on expanding that to the four other former Soviet states.

During his visit, Ramcharan has requested to meet government officials and senior staff in the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, education and the interior. He also hopes to meet the presidents of the supreme and constitutional courts, as well as heads of national human rights institutions.

Additionally, the Deputy Rights Commissioner plans on meeting various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), representatives of international organisations, the diplomatic community and UN country teams, the statement said.

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