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UN expert on racism to visit Fiji

GENEVA (5 December 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere, will carry out an official visit to Fiji from 7 to 12 December 2016 to gather first-hand information on the situation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the country.

“During my mission to Fiji, I will pay special attention to the situation of historically discriminated groups, migrants and other vulnerable groups,” Mr. Ruteere said. “I will also assess the trends, manifestations and scope of racism in the context of the policy of inclusiveness of the current Government.”

The independent expert, who visits Fiji at the invitation of the Government, will survey the policies, provisions and measures in place to fight discrimination and promote multiculturalism, while at the same time focusing on the implementation of such laws, policies and measures.

“I will seek to engage constructively with the Government as well as with the different groups and interlocutors” the Special Rapporteur stated.

Mr. Ruteere’s mission will take him to Suva where he will meet with Government representatives the legislative and judicial branches, the National Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, the Media Industry Development Authority, and the Speaker and Members of Parliament.

The expert will also meet with representative of international and non-governmental organisations, academia and community leaders, as well as other individuals working in the field of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. He will visit an Itaukei community and a rural settlement of different ethnic groups.

The Special Rapporteur will also attend the annual Attorney’s-General Conference in Sigatoka where he will participate as a keynote speaker and share his experience in combating racism and countering discrimination worldwide.

At the end of the mission, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 12 December 2016 at 3:00pm, at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Victoria Parade, Suva. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The country mission report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

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 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. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.  Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/SRRacism/Pages/IndexSRRacism.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Fiji: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/FJIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Jean Fong (+679 944 9602 / ohchr.staff@one.un.org ), or Thierry del Prado (+41 79 752 0485 / tdelprado@ohchr.org)

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

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