BAKU, Azerbaijan — Oil-rich in a troublesome neighborhood, Azerbaijan ranks high among Western-leaning former Soviet satellites the United States wants in its corner. But critics counter that better relations with Washington must be in step with democratic reforms, and not obscure a grim human rights record that could become a destabilizing force within the country. The high-profile case of a leading reform minister imprisoned on still unproven charges cuts to the heart of the debate. The Bush administration last April came under heavy fire for receiving President Ilham Aliyev at the White House following 2005 parliamentary elections roundly condemned by [...]
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — In the coffee shops and tea houses of this modernized, stylish city, the hushed talk is of a faltering economy, rising racial tensions, and the man Malaysians either love or loathe. Old political warhorse Mahathir Mohamad, now 81 and recovering from a recent heart attack, has yet again demonstrated his refusal to retire gracefully with the mantle of respected elder statesman. After antagonizing his anointed successor as prime minister on a range of issues — even accusing the Abdullah Badawi government of presiding over a police state — and recently wading in on the side of [...]
DENPASAR, Indonesia — The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines has broken her silence and called on Manila to end extrajudicial killings. On Feb. 27, U.S. ambassador Kristie Kenney said that human rights are critical to every democratic country and asked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do all she can to stop the murderous spree. “Let’s beef up the human rights in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and make every effort to investigate, prosecute those responsible, [and] exonerate the innocent,” she said when pressed by reporters. Ambassador Kenney did not say whether the United States will be involved in the [...]
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