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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Forum to Slam Abuses in Chechnya

GENEVA — Continuing Russian abuses in Chechnya and Israel's use of force against Palestinians in the occupied territories were to be in the spotlight at the UN human rights forum opening Monday, diplomats and UN sources said.

The United States has also pledged to put China in the dock for alleged repression of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group and serious violations in Tibet. But Beijing is likely to escape formal censure as it has for the last decade, they added.

Colombia, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq and Sudan will also have their records scrutinized at the annual six-week session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The European Union is taking the lead in negotiations with Russia to persuade it to address allegations of serious abuses against rebels and civilians in separatist Chechnya, diplomats say.

Human Rights Watch and the London-based group Amnesty International have demanded that the commission launch an international probe into killings and torture in Chechnya.

The continuing bloodshed in the Middle East is the greatest continuing crisis to be debated this year, but Israel is unlikely to cooperate with any UN initiatives, diplomats say.

This year, activists including Human Rights Watch have also expressed alarm about the credentials of some members of the 53-state body, whose job is to examine violations worldwide.

"The UN Commission on Human Rights is the world's most important body dealing exclusively with human rights, yet the commission is being increasingly contaminated by the presence of governments which systematically abuse human rights," Reed Brody, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, told a briefing.

Its 14 new members include a host of countries widely criticized for serious abuses: Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.