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[casi] Karen Parker at UN Commission on Human Rights

This April, Karen Parker will once again attend the annual session
of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and in August, the Sub-Commission on
Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. She will continue her groundbreaking
work on lifting sanctions against Iraq, on maintaining the momentum against
use of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU) because they are incompatible
with existing humanitarian (armed conflict) law, and on initiatives to curb
governments' reactions to terrorism that violate human rights or
humanitarian law. There are 54 members of the Commission, who represent
countries, and 26 "independent experts" on the Sub-Commission, nominated by
governments and voted on by the Commission. At the Commission and
Sub-Commission, besides making what the UN calls "oral statements" at the
sessions, Karen will continute to participate in a number of non-governmental
organization Round Tables and seminars. She will continue her meetings with
the new Special Rapporteur for Iraq, who had substantially and favorably
changed the tone of the "condemning" reports. (We note that in his first
report (2001) he cited the "Bossuyt" report, the report of the new Special
Rapporteur on the right to food (which itself also cited Bossuyt) and spent
more time discussing the serious situation caused by the sanctions then any
issue.) And of course she will meet with government delegates as well as
Sub-Commission members "one by one" for support or opposition to

As many of you know, she has been especially successful in persuading
the Sub-Commission to address both DU and the Iraqi sanctions by
appointing special rapportuers and by adopting an annual "decision" on
the adverse consequences of the Iraqi sanctions in particular. Neither
the 2000 Bossuyt report on sanctions nor the annual decisions in the
Iraqi sanctions would have been possible without her legal analysis and
the combined lobbying efforts she carried out in coordination with
nongovernmental organisations such as Bridges to Baghdad, Women for Mutual
Security, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Throughout 1999 and 2000 Karen worked very closely with Mr. Bossuyt in
the drafting of the sanctions report.
(See, Marc Bossuyt: The Adverse Consequences of Economic Sanctions
on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, Economic and Social Council,
UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/33 of June 21, 2000.

Karen is currently assisting the Sub-Commission rapporteur assigned to
prepare the paper on DU weapons. And since August 2000 she has been
working with the Special Rapporteur for human rights and terrorism. The
2001 terrorism report (U.N. Doc. E/CN.4.Sub.2/2001/31, available on the UN
website of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) involved a great deal
of Karen's time, and she is now equally hard assisting two rapporteurs at the
same time:  the next report on terrorism and the Special Rapporteur's working
paper on DU and other "bad" weapons. Both documents must be submitted by the
rapporteurs for publishing by the end of May and are due to be
issued for the August 2002 session. Additionally, at her own expense,
Karen travelled to New York during last Fall's General Assembly
session to meet with the terrorism rapporteur and will again meet with
her in Geneva during the Commission.

Make no mistake: the United States is clearly opposed to these legal
initiatives. US representatives at the Commission and Sub-Commission lobby
strongly against them, trying  to water down our language, and putting
pressure on country delegates to vote against them. But the sanctions report
and the two current reports are going forward in spite of US opposition.
The new rapporteur for Iraq is much better than the first one, and is
listening to us. And the Sub-Commission has not stopped condemning the
against Iraq even after the US lead a drive at the Commission on Human
Rights to prohibit the Sub-Commission from acting. More and more
countries who are represented at the Commission are rallying to the agenda
that we, the nongovernmental organisations, have set.  This effort has opened
up considerable political space to shape a global concensus on the violations
of human rights incurred by sanctions,  DU, and the "war against terrorism"
where none has existed before.
I am writing now to ask for donations to make Karen's travel to Geneva
possible this April to the Commission and in August for the Sub-Commission
and to enable her to continue this work. Work with the special rapporteurs
is voluntary, as the UN has no budget for assistants to rapporteurs -- in
fact the rapporteurs themselves are unpaid. Karen's work with them, however,
leaves little time either for paid work or fundraising but I am sure you would
all agree how important it is to have Karen so involved with these valuable
documents. She has jokingly told me that in some of the cases it is rather
like arguing a case at the Supreme Court and then being asked by the Justices
to write the opinion herself. And she is able to "write" the opinions on the
issues that are our issues.

Your help is needed now more than ever to keep our initiatives going.
While a few wonderful people have made very generous contributions for
which we are very grateful, we urge as many of you that can
to support this work as well by sending a donation to  UN Project,c/o Philippa
Winkler, POB 911,Flagstaff, AZ 86002, USA. While we encourage you to make out
your checks directly to Karen Parker you may also make tax deductable
to Association of Humanitarian Lawyers.

Thank you,
Philippa Winkler,
Association of Humanitarian Lawyers

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