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Human rights and counter-terrorism: UN expert launches first mission to France


GENEVA (11 May 2018) – UN rights expert Fionnuala Ní Aoláin will visit France from 14 to 23 May to gather first-hand information on counter-terrorism initiatives and assess how they affect the promotion and protection of human rights.

“I will seek to provide assistance to the French government in promoting and protecting human rights while countering terrorism,” says Ms Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.

During her 10-day mission, Ms Ní Aoláin is scheduled to have high-level meetings with representatives of the Government, including the ministries responsible for foreign affairs, justice, and law and order.

The Special Rapporteur will also meet law enforcement officials, members of parliament, the Council of State, National Commission for the Control of Intelligence Techniques (CNCTR) and National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH). In addition, she will go to places of detention to interview people suspected or convicted of terrorist crimes.

Ms  Ní Aoláin, whose first official visit to France is at the invitation of the Government, will also hold talks with representatives of civil society, lawyers and academics.

At the end of her visit, on 23 May at 15:00 local time, Ms Ní Aoláin will share her preliminary observations with the media at a news conference at the offices of UNESCO (7, Place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris). Copies of her end-of-mission statement and press release will be available in English and French. Access to the news conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of her findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019.


Ms Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin (Ireland), the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, took up her functions on 1 August 2017. She is a University Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota; holder of the Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy, and Society; and faculty director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is concurrently a Professor of Law at the University of Ulster’s Transitional Justice Institute in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is co-founder and associate director of the Institute.

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 - France

For more information and media requests please contact Mr. Sharof Azizov (+41 22 917 9748 / sazizov@ohchr.org) or write to srct@ohchr.org

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

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.