8 June 2009
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Professor Philip Alston, is visiting Colombia from 8-18 June 2009. The itinerary of the mission, which is taking place at the invitation of the Government, will include Bogota and the departments of Antioquia, Meta and Santander.
Professor Alston will meet with Government officials, members of the judiciary and members of the legislature. His visit will also include meetings with victims, family members of victims, and witnesses to killings, as well as civil society organizations. His responsibilities include monitoring and reporting on alleged unlawful killings and their underlying causes, and on whether effective legal action has been taken to prosecute and punish those responsible.
Professor Alston will hold a press conference on 18 June at 11:00 a.m. at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights in Bogota, at which he will present his preliminary conclusions and recommendations. His final report will be presented to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Philip Alston was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2004 by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. The Commission first decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur to examine questions relevant to summary or arbitrary executions in 1982. The mandate, since assumed under the U.N. Human Rights Council, covers all countries. Professor Alston has extensive experience in the human rights field, including eight years as Chairperson of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, principal legal adviser to UNICEF in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He is a Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law.
For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, please visit the website: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/executions/index.htm