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UN Human Rights chief offers Haitian authorities assistance in Duvalier case

GENEVA (1 February 2011) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Tuesday that she has offered the authorities in Haiti technical assistance towards the prosecution of crimes committed under the leadership of Jean Claude Duvalier, stressing that serious human rights violations should not go unpunished.

Pillay said there was no statute of limitations under international law for serious human rights violations such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and rape.

“Haiti has an obligation to investigate the well-documented serious human rights violations that occurred during the rule of Mr. Duvalier, and to prosecute those responsible for them,” she said.

“Such systematic violations of rights cannot remain unaddressed. The thousands of Haitians who suffered under this regime deserve justice. I call on the Haitian authorities to send a message to the world that their national courts can ensure accountability for serious violations of human rights, even in difficult humanitarian and political contexts.”

ENDS

For further information and media requests, please contact OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9310)

Learn more about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Haiti: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/HTIndex.aspx