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UN panel considers respect for rule of law in battle against terrorism

UN panel considers respect for rule of law in battle against terrorism

Mr. Ramcharan
The challenge of respecting the rule of law while fighting terrorism, the urgency of combating poverty in order to promote basic human rights and the need to eliminate injustices against women are high on the agenda of a United Nations rights panel that opened its annual three-week meeting in Geneva today.

“Whatever we may say about tomorrow, the person faced with torture, arbitrary or summary execution, being made to disappear involuntarily, or the women who are subject to violence, need protection today,” the Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, told the opening session of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. “The challenge of human rights protection is immediate and pressing.”

The panel, made up of 26 experts from five regional groupings, is the principal subsidiary organ of the UN Commission of Human Rights. It undertakes studies and makes recommendations to the Commission. One of its main jobs is to explore issues that are considered important but have not received sufficient attention.

Mr. Ramcharan outlined a host of challenges, ranging from prevention of abuses to education to the protection of refugees on which the panel, meeting in its 55th annual session, needed to make recommendations.

Referring to terrorism and biotechnology under the heading of “new threats,” he said: “Terrorists commit grievous assaults on human rights and the struggle against terrorism is being exploited in some parts of the world to abuse human rights. There are pressing issues to be examined in this area.

Turning to poverty, Mr. Ramcharan declared: “Today, millions of people suffer from deprivation, indignity and wastage because of endemic poverty…The human rights approach to poverty reduction is based on a simple belief that if a society pursues democratic governance under the rule of law, and if the society strives to live by the precepts of the Universal Declaration, people will have better life-chances and would be able to come out of the spiral of poverty.”

Education, he added, was one of the main routes out of poverty.

On fighting injustice against women he said: “Strategic analysts of the way forward for the world tell us that unless we empower and render justice to women we stand little chance of making a dent on the problems of conflicts, underdevelopment and injustice.”