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Arizona law may violate human rights: UN

Arizona's new law on illegal immigration could violate international standards that are binding in the United States, six UN human rights experts said in Geneva.

Arizona's new law on illegal immigration could violate international standards that are binding in the United States, six UN human rights experts said Tuesday in Geneva.

The basic human rights regulations, signed by the U.S. and many other nations, regard issues such as discrimination and the terms under which a person can be detained, the experts said.

"A disturbing pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities and immigrants has been established with the adoption of an immigration law that may allow for police action targeting individuals on the basis of their perceived ethnic origin," the experts said.

Arizona's new sweeping law targeting illegal immigration has provisions that include requiring police enforcing another law to question a person about his or her immigration status, if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the United States illegally. It also makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

In America, critics have said the law violates the U.S. Constitution's provisions against unreasonable search and seizure, and will result in racial profiling of Hispanics.

Supporters deny that and say the law will pressure illegal immigrants to leave the country on their own.

In their statement, the six UN experts said: "States are required to respect and ensure the human rights of all persons subject to their jurisdiction, without discrimination.

"Relevant international standards require that detention be used only as an exceptional measure, justified, narrowly tailored and proportional in each individual case, and that it be subject to judicial review."

The law could result in potential discrimination against Mexicans, indigenous peoples and other minorities in Arizona, the UN officials said.

They also said they are concerned about the enactment of a law prohibiting Arizona school programs featuring the histories and cultures of ethnic minorities because everyone has the right to learn about his own cultural and linguistic heritage.

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