UN rights chief appoints panel to probe human rights violations in Côte

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Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan appointed Vera Duarte, the Coordinator of the National Committee of Human Rights and a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Cape Verde, Eugène Nindorera, the former Burundian Minister for Human Rights, and Franca Sciuto of Italy, the Chairperson of the Rainforest Foundation, former Chairperson of Amnesty International’s International Executive Committee and a member of the 2001 Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire.They will leave Geneva for Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, next week to establish the facts of the alleged atrocities of 25 and 26 March.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the number of deaths in Abidjan ranged from a government report of 37 to an opposition estimate of 300. One person was also killed and 25 wounded during demonstrations in the capital, Yamoussoukro, OCHA said.Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged President Laurent Gbagbo to cooperate fully with the international commission of inquiry and to make sure that civic and political liberties are restored. He also has appealed to the opposition parties that have suspended their participation in the Government of National Reconciliation to return as soon as possible.Meanwhile, the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) started its deployment earlier this week.

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