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Annan urges attention to link between rights abuses and population displacement

Annan urges attention to link between rights abuses and population displacement

United Nations operations must work harder to address human rights violations as both a cause and consequence of mass exoduses, according to a new report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In his report, released today, the Secretary-General says the UN has taken important steps to tackle the root causes that force people to flee their homes. "Greater awareness of the link between racism, ethnic conflicts, violation of human rights as the causes of mass exoduses have led to a better response by the international community when such humanitarian crises arise."

At the same time, the Secretary-General urges greater progress in this area, putting forward a series of recommendations aimed at shoring up the UN's capacity to deal with human rights abuses in the context of population displacement. He calls for promoting accession to relevant treaties and compliance with prohibitions against arbitrary and forcible displacement.

The report also calls for the establishment of mechanisms to ensure compliance with international law "in order to end the culture of impunity which currently prevails." Improving security and access to humanitarian assistance is also necessary. In addition, the Security Council should be regularly informed of human rights and humanitarian situations in cases of potential or actual conflict.

The Secretary-General highlights the need to bring all partners together in this effort. "The scope and complexity of mass exoduses… call for a multifaceted response and the active involvement of organizations both within and outside the United Nations system," he says.