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UN WORKING GROUP ON THE USE OF MERCENARIES TO VISIT HONDURAS AND ECUADOR

17 August 2006

The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination will visit Honduras and Ecuador from 21 August to 1 September 2006, at the invitation of the respective Governments.

During the visit to Honduras from 21 to 25 August 2006, the Working Group will hold meetings in Tegucigalpa and Lepaterique. The Working Group will visit Ecuador from 28 August to 1 September, where they will hold meetings in Quito, Porto Viejo and Manta. While in both countries, the Working Group delegation will meet with Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals to discuss questions relating to its mandate with a view to study and identify emerging issues, manifestations and trends regarding mercenaries, mercenary-related activities and the role of private military and private security companies and their impact on human rights.

The Working Group delegation will be headed by the Chairperson of the Working Group, Ms. Amada Benavides, and include Working Group member Mr. José Luis Gomez del Prado. The Working Group will later report on the visits to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

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The mandate of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination was established by the Commission on Human Rights in 2005. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts, serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Najat Al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Chairperson Ms. Amada Benavides (Colombia), Mr. José Luis Gomez del Prado (Spain), Mr. Alexander Nikitin (Russia) and Ms. Shaista Shameem (Fiji).

For more information on the resolution establishing the mandate of the Working Group, please consult the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/mercenaries/index.htm