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Counter-terrorism: UN human rights expert conducts follow up mission to Tunisia

GENEVA (20 May 2011) – United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Martin Scheinin will conduct an official visit to Tunisia from 22 to 26 May to assess progress achieved by the country in implementing the recommendations made after his previous country mission* of January 2010.

“During my second visit to Tunisia I will seek to provide assistance in the reforms embarked upon by the country, specifically in relation to the revision of the 2003 Anti-terrorism law and eradication of practices of torture and arbitrary or secret detention in the name of countering terrorism,” said the
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

Mr. Scheinin is scheduled to have high level meetings with representatives of the interim Government, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Human Rights, and Defence. He will also meet with law enforcement officials, members of the fact-finding Commission established to investigate human rights abuses since 17 December 2010, the High Council for the realization of the objectives of the revolution and political and legal reform, and the High Council on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties.

The Special Rapporteur, who visits Tunisia at the invitation of the Government, will meet with representatives of the international community, lawyers, academics, and non-governmental organizations.

During his five-day mission to the country, the UN expert on human rights and counter-terrorism will also visit places of detention to interview persons suspected of, or convicted for, terrorist crimes.

At the end of his visit, on Thursday, 26 May 2011, at 11:00 a.m., Mr. Scheinin will share his preliminary observations during a press conference at the Hotel Africa (50, Avenue Habib Bourguiba-BP73, Tunis 1001). The report of the Special Rapporteur on his follow up mission will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2012.

Martin Scheinin was appointed Special Rapporteur by the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights in August 2005. The mandate was renewed by the Human Rights Council in October 2010. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government and serves in his individual capacity. He is Professor of Public International Law at the European University Institute in Florence.

(*) Check the report on the Special Rapporteur’s previous mission to Tunisia: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/terrorism/rapporteur/visits.htm

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/terrorism/rapporteur/srchr.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Tunisia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/TNIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests please contact: Mr. Nikolaus Schultz (phone: +41 79 444 43 55 / email: nschultz@ohchr.org) or Mr. Joseph Schechla (phone: +216 93 308 821 / email: jschechla@ohchr.org) or write to srct@ohchr.org.