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UN expert to assess cultural rights in Botswana

GENEVA / GABORONE (12 November 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Farida Shaheed will visit Botswana from 14 to 26 November 2014 to assess the country’s efforts to enhance the right of all persons to participate in cultural life and to enjoy and access cultural heritage.

“I am eager to learn how the country understands the realization of cultural rights in relation to its policies, specially in the areas of education and tourism,” said the independent expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise in the field of cultural rights in all countries.

“I will also assess policies developed to ensure the right of people to enjoy the arts, to freedom of artistic expression and creativity and to manifest their culture”, Ms. Shaheed said.

During her thirteen-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with a number of actors in the cultural field, including State authorities, at the national as well as local levels. She will also meet with civil society organizations to discuss good practices and challenges concerning the enjoyment by all of the right to access and enjoy cultural heritage.

Regarding the issue of participation in the identification, classification and stewardship of cultural heritage, the independent expert said she was particularly eager to visit the two Botswana sites that have been inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, the Tsodilo Hills and the Okavango Delta.

Ms. Shaheed, who is carrying out this country visit at the invitation of the Government, will visit Gaborone, Maun, Ghanzi / Dkar, and Shakawe.

The Special Rapporteur will host a press conference in Gaborone, on Wednesday 26 November 2014 at 14:30 pm, at the UN conference room of the 3rd Floor (UN Building, Government Enclave, Corner Khama Crescent & President’s Drive, Gaborone), to share her preliminary conclusions and observations on the visit.

Ms. Farida Shaheed took up her functions as Independent Expert and then Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in August 2009. She has worked for more than 25 years promoting and protecting cultural rights by fostering policies and projects designed in culturally sensitive ways to support the rights of marginalized sectors, including women, peasants, and religious and ethnic minorities. Ms. Shaheed has been the recipient of several national and international human rights awards, and is an experienced participant in negotiations at international, regional and national levels. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/CulturalRights/Pages/SRCulturalRightsIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Botswana: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/BWIndex.aspx

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Gaborone: Ms. Mylène Bidault, (+ 41 79 109 68 75 / mbidault@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Ms. Julia Raue (+41 22 917 91 18 / jraue@ohchr.org) or write to srculturalrights@ohchr.org.

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

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