Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 14:19 UK

Kyrgyzstan protests greet UN chief Ban Ki-moon

By Rayhan Demytrie
BBC News, Central Asia

 Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Ban-Ki-moon
Mr Ban, right, was greeted by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been meeting leaders of Kyrgyzstan during his first tour of Central Asia.

His arrival was marked by a protest outside the UN building in the capital Bishkek by human rights activists and journalists.

Mr Ban has been urged by activists to raise the issue of human rights and curbs on the media.

In recent weeks some TV channels and an opposition newspaper have been shut down by Kyrgyz authorities.

Several independent websites have also been blocked.

In an open letter, Kyrgyz civic groups requested that Mr Ban use his visit to raise the issue of human rights violations.

Activists say rights abuses are systematic, including attacks on journalists and the persecution of political opponents.

Mr Ban has also been in Turkmenistan - one of the region's most closed states - where he urged President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to adhere to international recommendations on human rights.

Mr Ban's trip will also take him to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

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