Geneva, 19 October 2007: The United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène, will undertake a joint country visit to the Dominican Republic from 23 to 29 October 2007 at the invitation of the Government.
The Independent Expert and the Special Rapporteur will visit the cities of Santo Domingo, Dajabón, Santiago and San Pedro de Macorís to gather first-hand information on issues related to their mandates. They are scheduled to hold meetings with representatives of the Government, both at national and local levels, and with members of the legislative and judiciary branches. Discussions will also be held with non-governmental organizations, community members, academics and others working in the field of minority issues, social inclusion, anti-racism and discrimination, as well as officials from the United Nations and the Organization of the American States.
The Independent Expert and the Special Rapporteur will present their findings and recommendations to a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.
The mandate of the Independent Expert was established in 2005 by the Commission on Human Rights to promote implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, and to identify successful practices on the issues. A former member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ms. McDougall is the first expert to hold the mandate. In this capacity she has conducted official visits to Hungary, Ethiopia and France.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on racism was established in 1993 by the Commission on Human Rights to examine incidents of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as governmental measures to overcome them. A former director of UNESCO Department of Intercultural Dialogue, Mr. Diène is the second Special Rapporteur to hold the mandate. Since his appointment in 2002, he has conducted official visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
For more information on the roles and functions of the Independent Expert and the Special Rapporteur, please visit the following web pages: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/expert/index.htm http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/rapporteur/index.htm