Middle East: UN could aid survivors of Algerian massacres

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The Independent Online
Top United Nations officials are discussing sending humanitarian aid to help victims of the massacres in Algeria. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, is considering with senior UN colleagues what can be done, said spokesman John Mills.

Despite the Algerian government's insistence that the unrest and massacres are a purely internal affair, Ms Robinson is convinced that the current situation is of international concern, he said.

"When you have very large numbers of people killed, whole communities devastated by these attacks, there is a need for humanitarian assistance," Mr Mills said.

He said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the head of the UN Children's Fund were involved in the talks, but declined to elaborate further.

Algeria said on Thursday it had agreed to a visit starting on Monday by three junior ministers from the European Union, shocked at the slaughter of about 1,100 men, women and children since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on 30 December.