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Rwanda: first official visit by UN expert on freedoms of peaceful assembly and association

GENEVA (16 January 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will visit Rwanda from 20 to 27 January 2014 to assess in depth to what extent the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are enjoyed in the country.

Mr. Kiai’s visit will be the first information-gathering mission to Rwanda by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realization of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide.

“The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are essential components of democracy, and States are called upon by the Council to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely,” the independent expert said.

“Government cooperation is absolutely essential to the effectiveness of my mandate and every other Human Rights Council’s mandate,” the Special Rapporteur noted.

Mr. Kiai is scheduled to travel to Kigali and Huye. During his eight-day visit, he will meet with State officials, members of the judiciary and of Parliament, as well as representatives of the national human rights commission, the civil society, and the diplomatic community.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on Monday 27 January from 12.30 pm at the Golden Hills Hotel (Av. Ntaruka, No 6, Kiyovu, Kigali 1992). For further information, please contact Clarisse Uwambayikirezi from the United Nations in Rwanda: +250 (0) 788534590 / clarisse.uwambayikirezi@one.un.org

The expert will present a final report of his visit during the 26th Human Rights Council’s session in June 2014.
Mr Maina Kiai (Kenya) took up his functions as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association on May 2011. Mr Kiai has been Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy; Chair of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission; Africa Director of the International Human Rights Law Group; and Africa Director of Amnesty International. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Rwanda: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/RWIndex.aspx
For more information and media requests, please contact:
Guillaume Pfeifflé (+41 797 520 485 / gpfeiffle@ohchr.org)
Karen Blanc (+41 22 917 94 00 / kblanc@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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