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UN expert on contemporary forms of slavery announces first official visit to Paraguay

GENEVA (14 July 2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Urmila Bhoola will visit Paraguay from 17 to 24 July to assess the extent to which contemporary forms of slavery, including child slavery, forced labour, bonded labour and other slavery-like practices, continue to exist in the country.

“This visit will provide an opportunity for a productive exchange on the challenges faced by the Government in the context of an increase in forms of exploitation that amount to slavery in the world, as well as initiatives undertaken to address the issue in Paraguay,” said Ms. Bhoola ahead of her first official visit to the country.

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on issues such as forced labour, bonded labour, children working in slavery or slavery-like conditions, domestic servitude and sexual slavery.

“I am looking forward to engaging with Government and civil society to identify the prevalence of contemporary forms of slavery and assess policies and actions taken by the authorities Government to tackle this,” the human rights expert noted.

During the eight-day mission, which takes place at the invitation of the Government of Paraguay, Ms. Bhoola will visit Asunción and the Chaco region, and also meet local authorities and the UN country team.

At the end of her visit, on Monday 24 July, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at 11:30 noon at the UN premises (UN House, WTC, 2nd floor. Av Aviadores del Chaco 2050, Asunción) to share her preliminary observations. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

Following the visit, the independent expert will present a report containing her conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018.

Ms. Urmila Bhoola (South Africa) assumed her mandate as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences on 2 June 2014. Ms. Bhoola is a human rights lawyer working in the Asia Pacific region on international human rights, gender equality and labour law. She has 20 years of experience as a labour and human rights lawyer in South Africa and served as a Judge of the South African Labour Court for five years. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Slavery/SRSlavery/Pages/SRSlaveryIndex.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 human rights monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. The experts 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.

UN Human Rights, country page: Paraguay

For more information and media enquiries, please contact:
En Asunción (during the visit): Javier Chamorro: +595 21 607 904  / +595 971 733 060 / jchamorro@ohchr.org 
In Geneva (before and after the visit n Ginebra): Eleanor Robb +41 22 917 9800 / erobb@ohchr.org or write to srslavery@ohchr.org

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

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