Peace deals leave vulnerable groups at militants mercy: UNHCR

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Islamabad, June 28 : Slamming the Pakistan Government's agreements with militants based in the volatile areas of that country, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has said that these peace deals have left vulnerable groups at the mercy of militants.

"Peace deals have undermined state authority in the areas controlled by the militants, leaving the local people vulnerable to a range of very serious human rights abuses," The Daily Times quoted Arbour, as saying.

Welcoming the government's intention to commute prisoners' death sentences to life sentences, Arbour asked Pakistan to join the emerging global movement towards a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and to reduce the number of offences.

Arbour said she was encouraged by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's recent announcement that his government would recommend to the President to commute the death sentences of prisoners to life imprisonment.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has expressed his support for this move, she said.

Opposing undue restrictions on the media, she said, "Freedom of expression has limits according to international law, which was against creating hatred and inciting violence through writing and speeches."

ANI

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