A statement issued by his spokesperson said Mr. Ban considered the decree signed on 26 June “an important step towards the consolidation of democracy in the country.”President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallah, who was elected after multi-party democratic elections in 2007, was overthrown by the country”s military last August in a move that was widely condemned, including by Mr. Ban and the United Nations Security Council.“The Secretary-General hopes that the new transitional government, created through constructive dialogue between the main Mauritanian political parties, will lead the country towards a free, fair and transparent presidential election, held in a safe environment, on 18 July 2009,” said the statement.Mr. Ban reiterated his gratitude to President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, the Chairman of the African Union and the facilitators who worked as part of the International Contact Group to assist the Mauritanian parties in finding “a consensual way out of the crisis.” 28 June 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the signing of a decree setting up a transitional government in Mauritania, which he hopes will pave the way for the holding of free and fair presidential elections next month.
In presenting her annual report to the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (Third) Committee, the High Commissioner stressed that government action must be guided by human rights principles, which strike a balance between the enjoyment of freedoms and the legitimate concerns for national security.”The discretion granted to certain authorities to act must not be unfettered,” she said as the panel opened its comprehensive debate on issues relating to human rights. “The principle of non-discrimination must always be respected and special effort made to safeguard the rights of vulnerable groups. I am concerned that some governments are now introducing measures that may erode core human rights safeguards.”As for the current situation in Afghanistan, the High Commissioner noted that in light of past experience, she was particularly concerned at the prospect of retaliatory killings and other abuses of civilians if territory changes hands, especially in view of the climate of impunity that had led to the current human rights situation there.”It is essential that Afghanistan be assisted in ensuring accountability for the series of massacres and other human rights and humanitarian law abuses perpetrated in recent years,” she said.In her remarks, the High Commissioner also specifically addressed the situation of human rights in East Timor, the Middle East and Chechnya in the Russian Federation. Concerning the Middle East, Mrs. Robinson said the failure to resolve the fundamental problem of occupation, as well as human security for both parties, combined with the increased recourse to violence have exacerbated the frustrations of both communities and have further eroded the sense of security of Israelis and Palestinians.”I urge both Israelis and Palestinians to work towards ending the cycle of violence and a return to negotiations, the aim of which should be achieving peace through a just and durable solution, in conformity with fundamental standards of international humanitarian and human rights law,” she said. read more