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61st session of the Commission on Human Rights

Agenda Item 9: Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world

Mr. Chairman,  
Human Rights Watch urges the Commission to take action on the situations in Nepal, Sudan and Uzbekistan.  
In Nepal, Maoists and the army continue to kill civilians with impunity. As Human Rights Watch documented, Nepal has one of the world's worst "disappearances" problems. The human rights situation has deteriorated dramatically since the February 1 seizure of power by King Gyanendra, backed by the army, and the imposition of a state of emergency. Fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly and expression, the right to information and privacy, the right to property, and the prohibition against arbitrary detention, have been suspended. Censorship was instituted. Nearly two hundred politicians, students, journalists, and human rights activists have been arbitrarily detained.

We urge the Commission to call on the Government of Nepal to immediately restore all fundamental rights, to ensure protection of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists and to release or charge all political detainees. Violence against civilians by government forces and Maoists must end. The Commission should urge the United Nations to deploy human rights monitors throughout the country and appoint a Special Rapporteur under item 9. This was necessary before February 1. It is even more urgent now.  
Mr. Chairman,  
Darfur, in western Sudan, remains one of the most serious human rights disasters in the world. Almost two million people have been forcibly displaced, on an ethnic basis, by coordinated Sudanese government and militia attacks of extraordinary brutality. The international commission of inquiry concluded that these crimes may amount to crimes against humanity and recommended that the Security Council immediately refer the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court.  
Close scrutiny of the human rights situation in Darfur remains vital. The Commission on Human Rights should firmly condemn the gross abuses of human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur and re-establish the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Sudan. Ending the entrenched impunity is also fundamental to improving the human rights situation, and Commission members should call on the United Nations Security Council to immediately refer the situation of Darfur to the International Criminal Court.  

Mr. Chairman,  
Uzbekistan's appalling human rights record changed little in 2004, with major violations of the rights to freedom of religion, expression, association, and assembly. Uzbekistan shows no political will to implement real reform.  
Uzbekistan failed to take meaningful steps to implement the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on torture and to end impunity for torture. Torture remains widespread.  
Freedom for civil society deteriorated because of new restrictions. These render independent groups less able to report on human rights problems and call for accountability. Thus, the government increasingly controls information so claims of progress cannot be verified against independent sources.  
The government intimidates and interferes with the work of domestic NGOs, international technical assistance organizations, media, human rights activists and opposition political parties, while thousands still remain imprisoned for peaceful religious activities.  
Human Rights Watch urges the Commission to adopt a resolution under Item 9 condemning the Uzbek government's appalling human rights record.  

Thank you.  

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