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Chile President Urges UN To Champion Human Rights

Looking Back On History Of Abuse, Chile’s President Urges UN To Champion Human Rights

New York, Sep 20 2006 6:00PM

Recalling the human rights abuses suffered by her country decades ago, the President of Chile today urged national leaders gathered at the United Nations for its annual general debate to end impunity for violations.

“Exactly 30 years ago, the General Assembly received terrible news: Orlando Letelier, the former Foreign Minister and Defence Minister of President Allende, had been brutally murdered on the street in Washington, DC,” Michelle Bachelet said. “The delegates were moved by that crime and today I remember it with emotion to illustrates how we have learned the lessons from the past.

Stressing that nothing justifies the violation of human rights, she declared her country’s firm rejection of impunity. “I assure you all of our commitment and enthusiasm to participate in the initiatives designed to promote human rights and democracy,” she said, welcoming numerous advances in the field, particularly the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Forced Disappearance.

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger Perdomo also looked back on his country’s history, saying that compared to 1996, when peace accords ended the war there, the human rights situation had improved greatly.

“At the same time, we recognized that much remain to be done,” he said, noting that the UN has an office in the country and has been invited to support a Commission to Investigate Illicit and Clandestine Groups.

Voicing support for indigenous rights, he said the General Assembly should soon adopt the new Declaration on this issue.

Esteban Lazo Hernández, the Vice-President of Cuba, spoke about the results of the recent Non-Aligned Movement summit, held in Havana, which produced consensus on a number of pressing issues. Among these, “the Summit clearly and firmly pronounced itself against terrorism, double standards in international relations, coercive unilateral measures against any nation, ˜regime change" policies and the failure of developed countries to fulfil their commitments in economic and social areas.

He also criticized current United States policies towards Cuba. “The Bush administration has stepped up its brutally hostile measures against Cuba with new economic sanctions which further intensify the longest blockade human history has known,” he said. “The very Government of the United States recognizes that it is spending more, today, in persecuting and punishing those who have business dealings with Cuba than in monitoring the finances of those who attacked the Twin Towers.

Ends

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