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Austria: UN expert to assess implementation of cultural rights

German version in Word

GENEVA (4 April 2011) – UN Independent Expert, Farida Shaheed, will visit Austria from 5 to 15 April 2011 to study the country’s efforts to implement cultural rights. She will assess, among other things, measures adopted to create an open cultural climate and an intercultural understanding, in particular in the media, as well as access to cultural heritage through education and cultural rights within the education system of all persons including people with disabilities.

“There are numerous recognized and unrecognized minorities living in Austria,” the human rights expert said. “During my visit, I will look at the efforts undertaken by the Austrian Government to ensure a consistent and inclusive approach to protecting the cultural rights of persons belonging to minorities, as well as the measures against acts of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.”

“Cultural rights are essential tools for development, peace and the eradication of poverty, and for building social cohesion, as well as mutual respect and understanding between individuals and groups, in all their diversity”, she added.

Ms. Shaheed’s visit will be the first ever to Austria by an independent expert or special rapporteur designated by the Human Rights Council. The UN body established the new mandate in 2009 to identify best practices and obstacles to the implementation of cultural rights, and fostering the adoption of measures aimed at their promotion and protection.

The Independent Expert, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet with representatives of Governmental institutions, including senior officials in the areas of culture, education, science and research, minorities’ rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, social affairs and foreign affairs. She will also meet with national human rights institutions, academics, civil society organizations and representatives of minorities. Ms. Shaheed will visit Vienna, Graz, Eisenstadt and Klagenfurt.

The Independent Expert will hold a press conference in Vienna at the United Nations Office on 15 April 2011 from 11:00 a.m. Further details will follow.

Farida Shaheed took up her functions as Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights on 1 August 2009. She has worked for more than 25 years promoting and protecting cultural rights by fostering policies and projects designed in culturally sensitive ways to support the rights of marginalized sectors, including women, peasants, and religious and ethnic minorities. She has been the recipient of several national and international human rights awards, and is an experienced participant in negotiations at international, regional and national levels.

Lear more about the mandate and work of the Independent Expert: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/cultural_rights/index.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Austria: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/ATIndex.aspx

Bei Nachfragen oder Pressenanfragen wenden Sie sich bitte an Brenda Vukovic (bvukovic@ohchr.org and ieculturalrights@ohchr.org / +4179 201 0124)