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UNITED NATIONS EXPERT ON RIGHTS DEFENDERS TO VISIT IRELAND, FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT TO EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRY

UNITED NATIONS EXPERT ON RIGHTS DEFENDERS TO VISIT IRELAND, FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT TO EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRY
16 November 2012

GENEVA (16 November 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya will visit Ireland from 19 to 23 November 2012 to evaluate the situation of human rights defenders in the country. This is the first official mission to a European Union Member State by a United Nations Human Rights Council expert mandated to assess and report on the situation of rights defenders.

“This visit will allow me to learn more about the initiatives that Ireland has taken, both domestically and abroad, under the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders to contribute to the protection of defenders,” Ms. Sekaggya said. 

The United Nations independent expert pointed out that the coming mission “represents a unique opportunity to provide observations and recommendations on Ireland’s legal framework, institutions and other factors influencing the environment in which defenders work.”

Ms. Sekaggya, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Irish authorities, is scheduled to meet with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, the Irish Human Rights Commission, a broad range of civil society actors and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees during her stay in Dublin those days.

The human rights expert will hold a press conference in Dublin at the Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, at the end of the visit on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 11:30, to present her preliminary findings and recommendations.

A final report on the visit will be presented by the Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2013.

Margaret Sekaggya was appointed Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders by the Human Rights Council in March 2008. Ms. Sekaggya is a lawyer from Uganda with over 30 years of experience with justice and human rights issues, including as Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, as a judge and as a university lecturer. She is independent from any Government and serves in her individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/index.htm

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Ireland: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/IEIndex.aspx

For further information and media enquiries, please contact Ms. Dolores Infante-Cañibano (+ 41 79 752 0485 / dinfante@ohchr.org) or write to defenders@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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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR12/313E