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Trump Urged To Press Uzbek Leader On Rights

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has promised reform following more than two decades of repressive rule under the late Islam Karimov.

Amnesty International has called on U.S. President Donald Trump to urge his Uzbek counterpart to "continue and deepen" human rights reforms during their planned meeting later this week.

The planned talks between Trump and Shavkat Mirziyoev in Washington on May 16 come as the Uzbek leader is promising reform following more than two decades of repressive rule under Islam Karimov, whose death was reported in September 2016.

In a letter dated May 11, Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, told Trump that the Central Asian leader's first visit to the White House "will be a critical opportunity for you to encourage Uzbekistan to implement human rights reforms that are long overdue and much needed."

Mirziyoev has introduced "a number of wide-ranging political and economic reform proposals, designed to end past isolationist and repressive policies," Huang wrote, citing the Uzbek government's decision to prohibit the torture of suspects and to ease restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, as well as the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists, and activists.

However, Huang said that Mirziyoev "must do more" to protect human rights in Uzbekistan, including guaranteeing freedom of movement for rights defenders, journalists, and former inmates, implementing the recent decree proscribing torture, ceasing the detention and torture of peaceful worshippers, and protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

In a press release issued on May 10, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the U.S. and Uzbek presidents will renew their countries' "bilateral strategic partnership, in order to pursue shared interests and address emerging challenges."

Trump and Mirziyoev will also be discussing trade, investment, and regional security issues, including the situation in Afghanistan.

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