(en) US death row inspected by UN -- Guardian Weekly

Dave Cull (dcull@mail.island.net)
Thu, 09 Oct 97 00:27:47

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International News / US death row inspected / Ed Vulliamy in Washington

US death row inspected

Ed Vulliamy in Washington

THE United States is being put under the kind of scrutiny by the United Nations that it usually urges for other countries as an international team investigating its use of the death penalty toured the South last week. The UN inquiry is being led by Bacre Ndiaye, a leading human rights investigator from Senegal. He is the second such UN monitor of the US. The first was on racism in 1992. Like his predecessor, Mr Ndiaye was initially welcomed by the administration, which approved his tour last year, and he was expecting to meet senior politicians. Requests were made to meet President Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore. Mr Ndiaye says he was especially eager to meet the attorney-general, Janet Reno, and representatives of the supreme court.But these have been refused. During the first few days of his tour, visiting prisons and trying to talk to politicians, Mr Ndiaye had to be content with junior officials, two congressmen, and no senators. Officials at the UN were anxious to point out, however, that Mr Ndiaye was touring Washington during the penultimate week of the congressional term, and that politicians were "very, very busy". Mr Ndiaye was appointed under the auspices of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which urges member states to enforce an international convention curbing the expansion of "summary or arbitrary executions". He said the US was second, after China, in expanding the death penalty. The Guardian Weekly Volume Issue for week ending , Page 6

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