UNITED NATIONS Press Release 29 July 2004 United Nations Commission on Human Rights Chairman Mike Smith has appointed Philip Alston (Australia) as Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The appointment was made on 13 July 2004 in consultation with representatives of the different regional groups in the Commission. Mr. Alston has served in various capacities in the United Nations system, including as Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1991 to 1998, and as its Rapporteur from 1987 to 1990. In 1989 he was appointed by the Secretary-General, at the request of the General Assembly, as an Independent Expert to report on measures to ensure long-term effectiveness of the human rights treaty bodies. In that capacity he presented reports to the General Assembly in 1989, the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993, and the Commission on Human Rights in 1997. In 2002, he was appointed as Special Adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals. Mr. Alston is currently Professor of Law at New York University and Faculty Director of its Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. He was previously Head of the Law Department at the European University Institute in Florence and from 1996 to 1999 directed a major project on the European Union and Human Rights at the request of the European Commission. He has also been a visiting Professor at Harvard Law School (1984-1989, 1993) and was founding Director of the Centre for International and Public Law at the Australian National University. Special Rapporteurs and other "mandate-holders" of the Commission are independent from any government and serve in their individual capacity. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is mandated to examine the phenomenon worldwide and to submit his findings on an annual basis, together with conclusions and recommendations, to the Commission. He also submits every other year a report to the General Assembly along with his recommendations for more effective action to combat situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Following his appointment, Mr. Alston paid special tribute to the outgoing Special Rapporteur, Asma Jahangir, "for the outstanding way in which she discharged her mandate and for her tireless efforts to give voice to, and respond to, the pleas of victims of violations of the right to life".
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