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2 May 2008

Geneva, 2 May 2008: The United Nations independent human rights expert on extrajudicial executions arrives in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on Sunday, 4 May, on an 11 day official visit. Philip Alston, an Australian national who is Professor of Law at New York University, is a Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council. His responsibilities include reporting on alleged killings and the underlying causes that might have prevented effective legal action to prosecute and punish those responsible. His mandate extends to all UN member states. He will be visiting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the invitation of the Government, and his mission is designed to enable him to meet with groups from all sectors of society.

The visit will include meetings with representatives of the Government, including the members of the Cabinet, the military and the police. Mr. Alston will also hold meetings with human rights NGOs and other civil society groups.

As a result of the visit, Mr. Alston will report to the Human Rights Council on the Afghanistan’s compliance with its human rights obligations and will make recommendations designed to promote more effective remedial and preventive measures in the future.

Mr 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.