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UN expert on racism and discrimination launches first official visit to Greece

GENEVA (1st May 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Mutuma Ruteere will visit Greece from 4 to 8 May 2015 to evaluate the situation of racism and discrimination in the country.

This is the first official mission to Greece by the independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to assess and report on the situation of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance in the world.

“This visit will allow me to learn more, first-hand, about the context of racism and discrimination in Greece, as well as about all the initiatives and efforts undertaken by the Government to combat this phenomenon,” Mr. Ruteere said. “I should then be able to provide observations and concrete recommendations to help fight racism and other forms of discrimination in the country.”

The human rights expert, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Greek Government authorities, is scheduled to meet with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, UN agencies in the country, the National Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman, as well as a broad range of civil society actors.

Mr. Ruteere will hold a press conference at the end of the visit on Friday, 8 May 2015 at 14h30 at the Journalists' Union premises, 20 Akadimias Street, Athens, to present his preliminary findings and recommendations. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

A final report on the visit will be presented by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in 2016.

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere (Kenya) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in November 2011. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organisation and serves in his individual capacity.  Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/SRRacism/Pages/IndexSRRacism.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Greece:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx

For further information and media enquiries, please contact:
In Athens: Stella Nanou (+30 693 793 4515 / nanou@unhcr.org) or Thierry del Prado (+30 694 547 1600 / tdelprado@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Yaye Ba (+41 22 917 9210 / yba@ohchr.org ) or write to racism@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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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en