Uzbekistan + 1 more

U.N. names rights monitors for Sudan, Uzbekistan

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GENEVA, July 29 (Reuters) - The U.N.'s top human rights body named two special investigators for Africa's conflict-torn Sudan and Central Asia's Uzbekistan on Friday, both countries the focus of international concern.
The experts are charged with monitoring the human rights situations, leading fact-finding missions, and reporting their findings to the United Nations.

The U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights appointed Sima Samar of Afghanistan as so-called Special Rapporteur on human rights in Sudan.

Samar is the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women's Affairs in the post-Taliban Afghan government and now chairs the country's Independent Human Rights Commission, the OCHCR said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, the U.N. criticised Sudan for fuelling sexual violence in its turbulent Darfur region, where violent clashes intensified after rebels took up arms in 2003.

The government is accused of arming Arab militia, known as Janjaweed, who pillage, kill and rape. It has denied the charge.

At the same time, the U.N. named Mich=C3=A8le Picard of France as the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Uzbekistan.

Picard is expected to prepare a confidential report to the U.N. on the situation in Uzbekistan that will be used to establish a dialogue with the goal of improving rights conditions there, a U.N. OHCHR spokesman said.

In May government troops opened fire on rebels and protesters and, witnesses said, killed 500 people. The government says 169 people died in the May 13 violence, most of them "bandits."

The violence in the tightly-controlled Central Asian state, used as a staging area for the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, has led to concern from the West and stoked opposition fears that it could be used as a pretext for a new crackdown on independent voices.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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