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Kathleen O'Toole, News Service (650) 725-1939; e-mail:

UN human rights commissioner to speak at Stanford Nov. 2

Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will give a lecture titled "Reflection on the State of Human Rights" at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2 in Kresge Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Robinson, former president of Ireland, recently named a panel to investigate alleged atrocities in East Timor and will determine by the end of the year whether to recommend that the UN appoint a war crimes tribunal for that area. She and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan are advocating the Security Council devise new measures, including arms embargoes, for protecting civilians in armed conflicts. They say existing conventions on international humanitarian and human rights law have been disregarded in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Cambodia and Angola, leading to an estimated 30 million people being displaced by wars and 300,000 children and teenagers drafted into fighting armies.

Robinson also has been in the news this year for applauding a British court decision permitting the extradition of Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to Spain. "Those who commit, order or tolerate torture can no longer be sure of a peaceful retirement," she said of the unusual case. She also has urged Russia not to force refugees from Chechnya back into the embattled breakaway republic and warned NATO during its bombing operations in Serbia that "people are not collateral damage." She also is planning a visit to Mexico this month to discuss the situation of indigenous people and migrant workers there.

Robinson will be hosted at Stanford by the Institute for International Studies. This is her second campus visit. As Irish president, she was invited to lecture at the Law School in October 1995.



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