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UNITED NATIONS RIGHTS EXPERT WELCOMES RELEASE OF UNICEF STAFF MEMBER ABDUCTED IN SOMALIA

6 March 2006

The following statement was issued today by the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar:

I welcome news of the release of UNICEF staff member, Robert McCarthy, in Somalia on 2 March 2006. The United Nations and the international aid community must be allowed to work towards the protection and promotion of all human rights in Somalia, and I appeal to all authorities and groups concerned to ensure safe and secure conditions for their activities.

I am very concerned by abductions of humanitarian staff because such actions represent an infringement of the right to life, liberty and security of person as guaranteed under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. These abductions must be condemned by all in the strongest terms.

In light of the recent positive developments for Somalia, such as the extraordinary session of Parliament held on 26 February in Baidoa, we must work together to support efforts towards peace, stability and progress for the Somali people.