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Geneva 23 April 2002

Following is a statement by Gustavo Gallon Giraldo, the Special Representative on Equatorial Guinea, whose mandate was terminated by the Commission on Human Rights:

"On 19 April 2002, the Commission on Human Rights voted a resolution which ends the mandate of the Special Representative on Equatorial Guinea. According to this same resolution, the situation in Equatorial Guinea will be examined at the next session under item 19, entitled "Advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights". The Commission therefore decided to end its oldest mandate which monitored the situation in Equatorial Guinea for the past 23 years.

According to Mr. Gallon, in voting draft resolution L.20, the Commission endorsed facts and statements that are at odds with reality, such as the one stating that the Government of Equatorial Guinea has ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Equatorial Guinea is not a party to those treaties. Mr. Gallon further notes that, unfortunately, nothing has changed in Equatorial Guinea that would justify the adoption of such resolution: what has changed is the composition of the Commission. In his views, the human rights situation is still serious and deserves close monitoring.

As out-going Special Representative, Mr. Gallon recommends that proper follow-up be ensured especially at this critical moment, in which massive detentions of political opponents are being carried out since mid March 2002. The authorities of Equatorial Guinea had accepted in principle that a mission headed by the Special Representative visit the prisoners in early May. Due to the end of the mandate of the Special Representative, this mission should take place with the least delay, possibly by the appropriate thematic Special Rapporteurs.

The Special Representative wishes to thank all those who have actively collaborated with him in the discharge of his mandate: UN agencies, the European Commission, the ICRC, international NGOs, some Governments, other Special Rapporteurs of the Commission as well as the Equatorial-Guineans whose support he greatly benefited from. He calls for a continued involvement of all these actors to make sure that the Commission on Human Rights continues eeping a close eye on Equatorial Guinea, by monitoring technical assistance and by re-examining the situation of human rights during the next fifty-ninth session."

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