Crackdowns on Human Rights Breeds Extremism: U.N.'s Ban

While winding up a visit to the volatile former Soviet region, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that continued crackdowns on human rights in Central Asia could backfire by encouraging extremist ideologies. Ban chose Turkmenistan, viewed by human rights groups as one of the world's most despotic and isolated regimes, to deliver a passionate message to the resource-rich, mainly Muslim Central Asian region that borders Russia, China, Iran and Afghanistan. Having earlier met Turkmenistan's autocratic President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Ban said in a statement that independent observers should be allowed access to places of detention.