Algiers – While the Polisario governs the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria ultimately has the responsibility to ensure the protection of the rights of all persons on its soil, Human Rights Watch said Saturday in Algiers.“Algeria should publicly acknowledge its legal responsibility for ensuring respect for the rights of everyone on its territory, including residents of the Polisario-run refugee camps”, HWR stressed during a press conference on human rights violations in the Tindouf camps.The Polisario Front “should end military court jurisdiction over civilians and eradicate all vestiges of slavery”, the international human rights watchdog noted, adding that the leaders of the front should “ensure that camp residents are free to challenge its policies and leadership” and “advocate options other than independence for the Sahara”.
Addressing the first-ever meeting in the Russian Federation in support of the Global Compact, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the participants that the United Nations of the 21st century would need to work with outside actors, in efforts like the Global Compact to improve the lives of ordinary people.In the area of labour standards, she said, businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, while working to eliminate forced and compulsory labour, child labour, and discrimination in the workplace. They should take a precautionary approach to the environment, promote greater responsibility, and encourage the use of environmentally friendly technologies. “The idea is to weave these principles into the fabric of existing trade rules, global markets and corporate practices,” Ms. Fréchette stressed. “The Global Compact is not a regulatory instrument or a legally binding code of conduct. Rather, the Compact is a voluntary initiative to promote good corporate citizenship.”In addition to establishing partnerships with labour and civil society organizations she encouraged companies to work with the UN and other development actors. An example of an area where the business community has worked in partnership with governments and the UN was the issue of HIV/AIDS, she said.Also addressing participants, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov added that expanded interaction between the UN and the private sector was in Russia’s interest. Following the round table, participants issued a statement expressing support for the Compact and welcomed Russia’s establishment of a web site to disseminate information about it.Today’s round table was organized jointly by the Foreign Ministry of Russia and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.