Religious communities and individuals in Turkmenistan continue to face difficulties in practicing their faiths, even though the country has made clear progress since last year, an independent UN human rights expert said Sept. 10. Wrapping up a week-long visit to Turkmenistan, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, issued a statement noting that the Government has undertaken a series of initiatives to set up mechanisms to deal with human rights issues. But she voiced concern at the contents of a 2003 law that prohibits any activities by unregistered religious organizations, even if the criminal penalties for such activities have been removed subsequently. (UN News Service)

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