UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomes Colombian army dismissals over alleged extrajudicial killings

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BOGOTA -- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, welcomed the measures announced on Wednesday by Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, whose Government dismissed three army generals and 24 other officers and non- commissioned officers over alleged extrajudicial killings.

"I support the commitment expressed by the highest civilian and military authorities that progress in security should be achieved with full adherence to legality and respect for human rights," Pillay said in a statement issued during her current visit to Colombia.

The High Commissioner has recommended in the past that the Colombian Government and commanders of the armed forces make determined efforts to eliminate extrajudicial executions, and adopt measures to prevent, investigate and publicize situations where such violations may have occurred, and punish those found responsible.

Pillay applauded the fact that these cases are being investigated by civil courts, and encouraged the Colombian Attorney General to strengthen its Human Rights Unit in order to address, as soon as possible, all claims regarding extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

The High Commissioner is currently visiting Colombia, where OHCHR has a major country presence. She has held meetings with President Uribe and senior ministers, as well as with members of Congress, the judiciary, civil society, and UN colleagues to discuss a range of human rights concerns. She will also visit OHCHR field operations in the country eastern region.