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

GENEVA (18 September 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will visit Chile from 21 to 30 September 2015, in what will be the first information-gathering visit to the country by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realization of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide.

“I wish to first express my solidarity with the people of Chile following this week’s earthquake. My thoughts are with all those who were affected by this tragic event,” Mr. Kiai said.

“The Human Rights Council has called upon States to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely,” the expert noted. “This visit will give me an opportunity to evaluate in-depth to what extend both rights – as essential components of democracy – are enjoyed in the country.”

The Special Rapporteur, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, is scheduled to travel to Santiago, Temuco and Copiapo, pending confirmation following the emergency situation caused by the earthquake.

During his ten-day visit, Mr. Kiai will meet with State officials, including President Bachelet, with members of the judiciary and of Parliament, as well as representatives of the National Human Rights Institute, the civil society, and the diplomatic community.

“I look forward to a constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders I am due to meet,” the expert added.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on Wednesday 30 September from 11 am at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL), Conference Room 2 (Celso Furtado), Av. Dag Hammarskjold 3270, Vitacura, Santiago. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. (For further information, please contact María Jeanette Moya: +56 2 2210 2977 / mmoya@ohchr.org).

The expert will present a final report of his visit during the 32nd Human Rights Council’s session in June 2016.

Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya) took up his functions as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in May 2011. He is appointed in his personal capacity as an independent expert by the UN Human Rights Council. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.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 independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council 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 – Chile: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/CLIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva, before and after the visit: Guillaume Pfeifflé (+41 79 752 0486 / gpfeiffle@ohchr.org)
In Santiago, during the visit: María Jeannette Moya (+56 2 2210 2977 / mmoya@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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