UN rights chief to head to West Africa

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UN human rights chief Navi Pillay will travel to Guinea and Senegal from Sunday in her first mission to West Africa, her office announced.

Pillay will meet Guinean president Alpha Conde, prime minister Said Mohamed Fifana, parliamentarians as well as civil society groups and refugees from Ivory Coast during her visit to Guinea on March 13 to 15, the High Commissioner for Human Rights office said in a statement on Friday.

Conde became the country's first democratically elected leader last November, taking over from a military regime and ending 50 years of dictatorship.

In Senegal, on March 15 to 18, Pillay is scheduled to meet with President Abdoulaye Wade, government ministers, the UN special envoy for West Africa, and civil society groups.

UN officials including Pillay have expressed strong concern about escalating violence in the presidential stand-off in nearby Ivory Coast in recent weeks.

© 2011 AFP

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