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Australian Chosen To Monitor Summary Executions

Australian Lawyer Chosen As UN Monitor Of Extrajudicial And Summary Executions

An Australian lawyer with a long record of working for the United Nations and of teaching law has been appointed Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Philip Alston, currently a professor at New York University and Director of its Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, was appointed last month to the post by Ambassador Mike Smith of Australia, Chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights, after consulting with representatives of the Commission's regional groups.

Mr. Alston's task will be to study the incidence of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions around the world and to make recommendations to the Commission and to the General Assembly about how to reduce the practice.

His other previous posts include serving as Chairman of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and as the Committee's Rapporteur. In 1989 he was chosen as a UN Independent Expert to study the long-term effectiveness of human rights treaty bodies.

Two years ago he was appointed Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Mr. Alston has taught law in Australia, the United States and Italy.

Mr. Alston praised Asma Jahangir of Pakistan, the previous Rapporteur, "for her tireless efforts to give voice to, and respond to, the pleas of victims of violations of the right to life."

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