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Terror attacks have broad effect on future human rights work: Robinson

Terror attacks have broad effect on future human rights work: Robinson

Mary Robinson
The international crisis following the terror attacks on the United States has broad ramifications for future human rights work, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, warns in a report released today at UN Headquarters in New York.

Submitting her annual report to the UN General Assembly, Mrs. Robinson says there should be three guiding principles for the world community: the need to eliminate discrimination and build a just and tolerant world; the cooperation by all States against terrorism, without using such cooperation as a pretext to infringe on human rights; and a strengthened commitment to the rule of law.

"True respect for human life must go hand in hand with securing justice," Mrs. Robinson writes. "The best tribute we can pay to the victims of terrorism and their grieving families and friends, is to ensure that justice, and not revenge, is served."

The High Commissioner says that her report documents the wide range of issues that her office approached during the past year at the international, regional, and national levels in carrying out the responsibility of promoting and protecting all human rights.

"While international action is vital in bringing about collective vision, standards, coherence and respect for human rights, it is at the national level where action is most crucial," Mrs. Robinson observes, stressing the national dimension of human rights work.

The High Commissioner also notes that she has begun talks with governments, UN agencies, international organizations, and civil society "to place human rights firmly on national agendas," and that her office has been focusing on legal frameworks, and concrete national policies plans, programs, and institutions.

"The barometer for success of international action in the field of human rights lies in its ability to bring about real improvement in peoples lives," Mrs. Robinson says.

The report also reviews the work over the past year by the High Commissioner to advance human rights in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Indonesia, Chechnya and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.