According to the UK Telegraph, J.Lo is “believed to be the first major Western star to visit the isolated former Soviet republic, known primarily for its vast gas reserves and a dismal human rights record.”
Human Rights Watch calls Turkmenistan “one of the world’s most repressive countries”:
The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny. Media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal. The authorities continue to use imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation and to restrict peoples’ right to travel freely. Turkmenistan continues to expand relations with foreign governments and international organizations, but without meaningful outcomes for human rights.
Mia Farrow and others expressed disgust and disappointment:
But cheer up; there’s always a silver lining: