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Human rights: Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent visits Portugal

GENEVA (13 May 2011) – The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent will visit Portugal from 16 to 20 May to gather information from all parties on the situation of this population group and in particular on discrimination and intolerance that they may face and the measures that the Government of Portugal is taking to fight these challenges.

The expert body will be assessing the situation facing people of African descent in Portugal as regards such things as access to education, housing and health services, employment, political participation and the administration of justice. The situation of migrants of African descent and their children will also be of particular interest to the Working Group as well as the way in which the current economic crisis is affecting people of African decent in Portugal.

“The visit is particularly timely as 2011 is the International Year for People of African Descent* and I am looking forward to learning from the Portuguese authorities about the activities that they plan to carry out in the context of the Year,” noted the Chairperson of the expert body, Ms. Mirjana Najchevska.

The Working Group will be in Lisbon to meet with Government officials, representatives of NGOs and academia. They also hope to have the opportunity to visit an Afro-Portuguese community. The Working Group will report on its visit to Portugal to the Human Rights Council in 2012

Al the end of their mission, on May 20, the members of the Working Group will hold a press conference at 11:00 at the headquarters of UNICEF Portugal in Lisbon, which has kindly made available their facilities for this purpose: Av. António Augusto de Aguiar, 21 - 3º Esq. 1069-115 LISBOA.

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was created as a result of the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. Its mandate is to assess and make recommendations concerning the situation of people of African descent.

(*) The International Year for People of African Descent: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/IntlYearPeopleAfricanDescent.aspx

Learn about the mandate and work of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/african/4african.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Portugal: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/PTIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Sandrine Mbea (Mob.: +41 79 509 0559 / mail smbea@ohchr.org) or write to africandescent@ohchr.org