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First mission to South Africa by a UN independent expert on migrants

GENEVA (21 January 2011) – UN Special Rapporteur Jorge A. Bustamante will undertake an official visit to South Africa from 24 January to 1 February 2011, in what will be the first mission ever to the country by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the human rights situation of migrants.

During his visit, Mr. Bustamante will focus on a wide range of issues, including irregular migrants and asylum seekers, access to health services of migrant workers and education of migrant children.

“I will be examining ways to overcoming obstacles to the protection of migrants’ human rights in South Africa, taking into account the particular vulnerability of women, children and those in an irregular situation,” the UN Special Rapporteur said.

Mr. Bustamante will visit the cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg, Polokwane, Musina and Cape Town, where he will meet with representatives of the government and the judiciary, as well as representatives of international and civil society organizations working on issues related to the human rights on migrants.

The UN Special Rapporteur will also visit an immigration detention centre located in Lindela (near Krugersdorp) and plans to meet a number of individuals at the detention centre, including irregular migrants and asylum seekers. He will also travel to the Beithbridge Border Post near Musina, on the border with Zimbabwe.

At the end of his mission, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on Tuesday 1 February. Further details on the time and venue of the meeting with the media will be provided by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Pretoria.

Jorge A. Bustamante (Mexico), an expert in the field of international migrations, was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants by the former Commission on Human Rights in 2005. His mandate was extended by the Human Rights Council in 2008 to help states and others, promote and protect the human rights of migrants. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. His mandate covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Learn more about the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge A. Bustamante: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/migration/rapporteur/index.htm

OHCHR Country Page – South Africa: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ZAIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Niraj Dawadi (Tel.:+ 27 12 354 86 84 / email: ndawadi@ohchr.org).