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Extrajudicial executions: first visit to Albania by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston

GENEVA (12 February 2010) - UN independent expert Philip Alston will undertake a mission to Albania from 15 to 23 February 2010, in what will be the first official visit to the country by the Special Rapporteur mandated by the Human Rights Council to monitor extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Professor Alston, who visits Albania at the invitation of the Government, will travel to the capital, Tirana, and the region of Shkodra, to investigate unlawful killings, including blood feuds, and issues of impunity and accountability for killings.

During his mission, the UN expert will focus on monitoring and reporting on alleged unlawful killings and their underlying causes, and on whether effective legal action has been taken to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible.

Mr 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.

The UN Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 23 February at 11:00 a.m. at the Rogner Hotel in Tirana, to share his preliminary conclusions and recommendations. His report on the visit will be presented to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Philip Alston, who was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2004 by the UN Commission on Human Rights, is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. Professor Alston has extensive experience in the human rights field, 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 and Co-Chair of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law.