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UNCHR Must Address the September 11 Attacks

For Immediate Release:

The U.N. Commission Must Address the September 11 Attacks Condemn the Attacks; Safeguard Human Rights

(New York, September 24, 2001) - The U.N. Commission on Human Rights must ensure that the unfolding efforts to combat terrorism include full respect of innocent life and international law, Human Rights Watch said today.

"The attack on September 11 in the United States was a strike against the fundamental principles guiding this Commission," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "The Commission will have a particularly important role to play in the weeks and months to come. It must ensure that human rights of people around the world do not become another casualty of the attack in the United States."

The Commission on Human Rights is holding its annual intersessional meeting in Geneva on September 25, exactly two weeks after the attack in the U.S. In a letter sent on September 21 to the 53 members of the U.N. body, Human Rights Watch urged the Commission to:

· condemn the attacks and to call on all governments to unite to investigate this crime, to prevent its recurrence, and to bring to justice those who are responsible;

· demand that efforts to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice are characterized by the highest respect for human rights;

· demand that any actions undertaken in the name of combating terrorism, including military action, be conducted within international human rights and humanitarian law.

Human Rights Watch said the Commission should continue to carefully monitor respect for human rights in all states, in particular those that seek to justify grave human rights violations in the name of combating terrorism.

Human Rights Watch called on the Commission to pay particular attention to the desperate situation of the civilian population of the Chechen region of the Russian Federation; to condemn ongoing abuses there and to demand that the government of the Russian Federation comply with the Commission's resolution addressing the situation in Chechnya.

The letter can be found at http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/09/chechunhrc0924.htm. A backgrounder on Chechnya can be found at http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/chechbkg0924.htm


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