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UN expert on arbitrary executions to assess the protection of the right to life in Papua New Guinea

GENEVA (27 February 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, will carry out an official visit to Papua New Guinea from 3 to 14 March 2014, to assess the protection of the right to life in law and in practice in the country.

“An essential aspect of my visit will focus on examining the level of unlawful killings and death threats by any actor in Papua New Guinea, as well as the efforts to prevent them and ensure justice and accountability in such cases,” the UN Human Rights Council expert said.

“I will also analyse the death penalty issue, and assess the level of conformity to international law in the practices of capital punishment in the country,” Mr. Heyns said.

The Special Rapporteur noted that one of his predecessors visited Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville in 1995, when he formulated recommendations* to the authorities and other actors on the peace process and human rights situation on the island.

“My visit will thus create an opportunity to also identify progress made on the implementation of those recommendations, as well as the possibly persisting difficulties,” he added.

During his twelve-day visit, the human rights expert will visit Port Moresby, Buka, Goroka, Kundiawa and Lae to meet with high-ranking officials at central and local levels, as well as various UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations, and other actors.
Mr. Heyns will present a comprehensive report on his visit to Papua New Guinea in a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in 2015, where he will make specific recommendations to strengthen the protection of the right to life in the country.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 14 March 2014, at 10:00 am, at the Public Information Centre, Deloitte Tower (Ground Floor, Douglas Street, Port Moresby), to share his preliminary findings with the media and the public.

(*) Check the 1996 report by the then Special Rapporteur:  http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G96/107/38/PDF/G9610738.pdf?OpenElement or http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/AnnualReports.aspx

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns (South Africa), is a director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, where he has also directed the Centre for Human Rights, and has engaged in wide-reaching initiatives on human rights in Africa. He has advised a number of international, regional and national entities on human rights issues.  Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights Country Page – Papua New Guinea: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/PGIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Port Moresby: Signe Poulsen (+675 7244 6437 (mobile) / +675 3212877 / signe.poulsen@undp.org)
In Geneva: Irina Tabirta (+41 22 917 9125 / +41 79 444 6129 (mobile) / itabirta@ohchr.org) or write to eje@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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