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Iraq: UN Rights Chief Deplores Aid Official Murder

UN Rights Chief Deplores Murder Of Aid Official In Iraq, Urges Release Of All Hostages

Condemning "in the strongest terms" the murder of aid worker Margaret Hassan in Iraq, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has called for the immediate release of all hostages there and for an end to indiscriminate attacks on civilians by armed individuals and groups.

"No political or religious cause can justify abductions, bombings and other criminal activities such as are being witnessed on a daily basis in Iraq," she said in a statement issued yesterday in Geneva. "This senseless violence cannot be condemned strongly enough and it must stop. Meanwhile, every effort should be made to identify the perpetrators and to bring them to justice."

Ms. Hassan was head of the CARE International office in Iraq and had devoted more than 25 years of her life to helping the Iraqi people before being abducted last month. A videotape sent to Arabic TV news channel Al-Jazeera showed her apparently being shot in the head.

In calling for the release of all hostages, Iraqis and foreigners, Ms. Arbour specifically mentioned French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, abducted in August, as well as Teresa Borcz Khalifa, a Polish-born long-time resident of Iraq who was seized last month.

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