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Extrajudicial executions: UN expert to investigate claims of unlawful killings in Ecuador

GENEVA (2 July 2010) – UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston will launch a mission to Ecuador from 5 to15 July 2010 to investigate allegations of unlawful killings. The human rights expert will visit the country at the invitation of the Ecuadorian Government.

“I will focus on allegations of hired killers, hit squads, police or military killings, prison deaths, and mob or private justice,” said Mr. Alston announcing the first mission to Ecuador by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The Special Rapporteur will also investigate death threats against activists, as well as killings that may result from indigenous justice. His mission will include assessing whether perpetrators of unlawful killings are brought to justice, and the outcomes of the Truth Commission.

During his ten-day visit, the Human Rights Council envoy will travel to Quito, Guayaquil and the province of Sucumbíos. He will meet with Government officials, members of the judiciary and the legislature. His mission will also include meetings with victims, family members of victims, and witnesses to killings, as well as civil society organizations.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 15 July 2010 at 10:00 at the UN building in Quito, at which he will present his preliminary conclusions and recommendations. Mr. Alston’s final report on his visit will be presented to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Philip Alston was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2004 by the UN 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 related to summary or arbitrary executions in 1982. The mandate, since assumed under the UN Human Rights Council, covers all countries.

Mr. Alston has extensive experience in the human rights field, including eight years as Chair 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.

OHCHR Country page – Ecuador: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/ECIndex.aspx