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UN Urges Action On Serious Human Rights Concerns

UN Experts Urge Action On Serious Human Rights Concerns In Several Countries

New York, Oct 23 2006 3:00PM

United Nations experts urged the international community to act quickly to address serious and deteriorating human rights situations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Sudan, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Sri Lanka, with specific actions recommended in several instances.

A full-fledged international human rights monitoring mission should be urgently sent to Sri Lanka, where fierce fighting between the Government and Tamil rebels erupted again recently, to ameliorate an impending crisis of major proportions, said Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur’s on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

An international criminal tribunal should be established in the DRC to deal with crimes committed there since 1994, said an independent UN human rights expert, Titinga Frederic Pacere.

Both made their recommendations to the UN’s Third Committee (which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural matters) on Friday in hearings that continue today.

The UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Sudan, Sima Samar, said the situation in Darfur had dramatically deteriorated, despite the signing of the peace agreement in May 2006, and warned that the conflict is spilling across borders, with militia attacking civilians in Chad and the Central African Republic.

The immediate international priority should be to ensure human rights protection and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in the Sudan, she said, urging the international community to provide the necessary financial and technical support to the African Union mission there.

Special Rapporteurs monitoring developments in North Korea and in Myanmar noted that they have been unable to visit these countries during the past two years or more.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, said grave human rights violations continue with impunity, adding there was “urgent need” to better coordinate Member States’ approaches to encouraging democratic transition there.

The representative from Myanmar, U Win Mra said Mr. Pinheiro’s description of the situation in eastern Myanmar was “blown out of proportion,” noting that 17 major armed groups had settled their differences with the central government. The representative also contested the Rapporteur’s statement that Myanmar had one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis infection.

Reporting on North Korea, Vitit Muntarbhorn said while egregious human rights transgressions continued the international community should continue its humanitarian aid for the North Korean people.

The Sudanese representative, Abdalmahmood Mohamed, said his government had demonstrated its will for peace by signing the Darfur Peace Agreement and said the international community should exert more pressure on rebel forces to join the agreement.

Zenon Mukongo Ngay, the Congolese representative, said the Independent Expert’s report generally “reflected the reality in the country” but that some information was out-dated by not acknowledging the code of good conduct agreement signed by the President and Vice President, the two main contenders in the run-off elections to be held at the end of the month. The report did not adequately credit new laws buῴtressing judicial i΅dependence and the separation of powῥrs, he added.

Sin Song Chol, the DPRK representative, said his delegation rejected all the “anti-DPRK” resolutions tabled before the United Nations over the last few years and would never accept the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.

ends

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