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KOBE — Nongovernmental organizations can play an important role in preventing human rights abuses of refugees by providing care and necessary materials and influencing the international community, an officer with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said Thursday.Milton Moreno, an external relations officer for South Korea at the UNHCR’s branch office in Japan, said at a United Nations University seminar here that while local NGOs have knowledge of human rights abuses of refugees in particular regions, international NGOs can provide financial resources and knowhow to assist the expatriates.”International NGOs can play a crucial role in shaping the positions and policies which the international community will take,” he said. “Advocacy is extremely important. I hope Japanese NGOs will be able to do much more in Japan and other countries.”About 70 people, including university students and local citizens, are taking part in the four-day U.N.U. Global Seminar ’98 Kobe Session, which started here Tuesday, to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.N. Human Rights Declaration.Speaking about her personal experiences in the former Yugoslavia in 1994 and 1995, Tomiko Ichikawa, deputy director of the North American Affairs Bureau at the Foreign Ministry, said bringing violators of human rights in armed conflicts to justice will bring peace to the victims.Ichikawa showed slides of shelled buildings, including churches and mosques, that she took while serving as an administrative officer for the U.N. peacekeeping operations, and explained the ethnic cleansing carried out among Croatians, Serbs and Muslims in Bosnia.

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