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U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson urged the Japanese government Monday to sign an international treaty banning torture and an international protocol banning the death penalty, Foreign Ministry officials said.Robinson said in a meeting with Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi that she wants to promote efforts to conclude international treaties on human rights because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the officials said.Obuchi responded that Japan is considering the treaties, including the ban on torture, which Tokyo has yet to sign, the ministry officials said. Torture is banned by the Constitution, but Japan has not signed the treaty prohibiting it because it would require punishment of foreigners in Japan suspected of violating the treaty, the officials said. Because Tokyo reportedly cannot readily obtain evidence or verification on such suspects or their crimes, it is reluctant to administer punishment under the treaty.Meanwhile, Robinson told Obuchi that she has asked the Cambodian government to investigate whether there were any human rights violations during internal fights between ousted First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen last July, the officials said.She said the Cambodian government has shown “an understanding” of the activities of her operations in Cambodia, they said. She added that she hopes the planned general election in Cambodia in July will be held fairly and freely, according to the officials.

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