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UNCHR: Rights For All, Not Politics, Must Prevail

UNCHR: Rights For All, Not Politics, Must Prevail

UN Commission on Human Rights: Rights for all, not politics, must prevail

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

14 March 2002 IOR 41/002/2002
43/02

Selectivity and double standards must not take precedence over human rights standards, Amnesty International warned as the UN Commission on Human Rights opened its 58th session.

"Human rights are being undermined in the post-11 September security overdrive and the Commission has to rise to the challenge of protecting the rights of all independently of political interests. If the Commission ? as the UN's supreme human rights body ? fails to do so, who else can?"

In response to the attacks of 11 September, a number of governments have introduced "anti-terrorism" measures that put at risk the human rights of their own citizens, as well as those of foreigners and those seeking asylum in their countries.

"The challenge for states is not to promote security at the expense of human rights, but rather to ensure respect of human rights for all," stated Martin MacPherson, Head of Amnesty International's Legal Program.

As the situation in the Middle East escalates, the organization is calling on the Commission to strongly condemn the grave violations of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Specifically, Amnesty International is urging the Commission to support its call for the urgent deployment of international observers to the region.

In response to the rising tension and widespread human rights violations taking place in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International is calling on the Commission to firmly place this country on its agenda and to ensure respect for human rights in that country.

Amnesty International's membership is campaigning for the Commission to address the pattern of grave and systematic violations of human rights, and in particular in the six following countries: Colombia, Indonesia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Russian Federation/Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.

In addition, the organization is calling for action on a number of thematic concerns: "anti-terrorism" measures, death penalty, "disappearances", racism and torture.

"What we really want to see this year is words taken into action. It isn't sufficient for the Commission to issue recommendations and resolutions. It must send a clear and consistent message that states must fully implement them," Martin MacPherson urged.

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