Philip Alston appointed UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

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

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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