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US abuses may become focus of UN human rights meeting

[JURIST] The United Nations' Commission on Human Rights [official site] began its annual six-week session on Monday. This year's meeting may produce significant criticism of human rights abuses committed by the US against prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Activist groups, such as Human Rights Watch [official site], are calling for the UN to condemn the American actions, and Cuba has said it will make US abuses an issue. The commission suffers from an ongoing credibility problem, however, due to the fact that its members include Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Saudi Arabia, three countries which have especially poor records on human rights. The Commission annually examines nations' adherence to international conventions on topics including illegal killings, arbitrary detention, women's rights, and child pornography. Typically, the Commission will issue "report cards" condemning particular practices in target countries. In addition to the US, the Commission is expected to focus on problems in Israel, North Korea, Belarus, and Myanmar. It is also expected to denounce actions in Nepal, which recently saw King Gyanendra sack the government and take full powers, resulting in what Amnesty International deems a "human rights catastrophe." Reuters has more.Statements from the Monday morning opening of the Commission meeting are available here.

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