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Russia: UN Appeals Kidnapped Aid Worker's Release

UN Human Rights Chief Appeals For Release Of Kidnapped Aid Worker In Russia

Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan issued a blanket appeal today for help in securing the release of a Doctors without Borders worker who was kidnapped more than a year and a half ago in southern Russia and is believed to be in ill health.

Mr. Ramcharan http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/9B1F1FCF9D50F70BC1256E 55005D2595?opendocument called on "all those who are in a position to assist to act expediently to obtain" the freedom of Arjan M. Erkel, a 34-year-old Dutch national who was abducted on 12 August 2002 by three armed men in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a Russian republic.

Mr. Erkel had been working with the non-governmental organization, known in French as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), since 1994 and Mr. Ramcharan made his appeal at a meeting in Geneva with Thomas Linde, Director-General of MSF-Switzerland, and Laure Delcros, MSF Delegate to the United Nations, who asked for his good offices.

The Acting High Commissioner recalled that in August 2003, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=s/res/1502 (2003) resolution 1502 on the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers. That text calls for adherence to international law on protecting relief personnel and urges that crimes against them do not go unpunished.

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