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New UN human rights chief in Colombia on first country visit

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today begins a week-long review of the situation in Colombia, in her first country visit since taking up the post last month, which will be followed next week by a stop in Haiti.

In Colombia, Navanethem Pillay will meet with President Alvaro Uribe and senior ministers, as well as members of Congress, the judiciary, civil society, and UN colleagues to discuss a range of human rights concerns.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has a major country office in Colombia, and while there Ms. Pillay will have the opportunity to visit her agency's field operations outside the capital, Bogota.

During her four-day visit to Haiti, which begins on 2 November, the High Commissioner plans to meet with President Rene Preval and other representatives of Government and civil society, as well as visit a regional office outside the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Among the issues that will be raised are judicial reforms, and the extent to which economic and social rights are subject to legal jurisdiction - particularly relevant given the severe aggravation of existing deprivation by the recent natural disasters and the global food crisis.

OHCHR carries out its work in Haiti through the Human Rights Section in the integrated UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSTAH.