Germany has reached a deal with Kazakhstan that will see the European giant allowed to mine for rare earth and other minerals in the country in exchange for technological help and investment, the New York Times reports.Angela Merkel and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev made the agreement — containing over 50 separate contracts worth a total of €3 billion ($4 billion) — in Germany on Wednesday.
Activists have been angered, however, as it appears the agreement makes no mention of human rights. Just days ago Human Rights Watch published an article calling on Merkel to make “human rights” a key part of the talks.
Certainly, if the footage coming out of the country at the end of last year is anything to go by, Nazarbayev has some way to go in that area. Amateur video footage showed police shooting and killing unarmed protestors, while the Kazakhstan government reportedly shut down mobile networks and internet connections to end strikes over worker pay.
Merkel has stood by the agreement, Reuters reports, telling reporters “German foreign policy is always value-based, and so when discussing economic interests we also talk about human rights, the adherence to democratic principles.”
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