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Discrimination against women: First mission ever to Samoa by a UN human rights expert group

APIA / GENEVA (3 August 2017) – A United Nations human rights expert group will carry out a fact-finding visit to Samoa from 8 to 18 August to assess the progress made towards eliminating discrimination against women and the protection and promotion of women’s rights in the country.
“We are particularly interested in legislative and policy reforms undertaken in recent years and the impact on the enjoyment of human rights of women in Samoa,” said human rights expert Kamala Chandrakirana, who currently heads UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice.

The visiting delegation, which also includes human rights expert Eleonora Zielinska, plans to visit Apia and villages in Upolu and Savai’i to gather first-hand information on issues related to discrimination against women in various contexts, including violence against women and girls.

“We will be looking at all aspects of women’s life: political and public, economic and social, family and cultural life, and health and safety. We are interested in achievements and good practices in eliminating discrimination against women as well as existing gaps and challenges,” Ms. Chandrakirana added.

The UN Working Group’s upcoming mission will be the first official visit ever to Samoa by independent experts designated by the UN Human Rights Council.

During its ten-day visit, the experts will meet with Government officials, representatives of State institutions and civil society organizations, academics, as well as individual women.

A press conference to share the delegation’s preliminary findings will be held on Friday 18 August at 12.00 at Taumeasina Island Resort Samoa. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to accredited media.

The Working Group will present a report on its visit to Samoa with its conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018.

The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice was created by the Human Rights Council in 2010 to identify, promote and exchange views, in consultation with States and other actors, on good practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women. The Group is also tasked with developing a dialogue with States and other actors on laws that have a discriminatory impact where women are concerned.

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts: the Current Chair-Rapporteur Kamala Chandrakirana (Indonesia), Eleonora Zielinska (Poland), Alda Facio (Costa Rica), Frances Raday (Israel/United Kingdom), and Emna Aouij (Tunisia).

The Working Groups 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. 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.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Samoa

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Hannah Wu (+41 22 917 9152 / hwu@ohchr.org), Bernadette Arditi (+41 22 917 9159 / barditi@ohchr.org) or write to wgdiscriminationwomen@ohchr.org
In Samoa (during the visit):  Ashley Bowe (+685 25394 / ashley.bowe@one.un.org), Morita Sapolu (+685 23670 / morita.sapolu@undp.org)  

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

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