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Domestic servitude: UN Expert on contemporary forms of slavery in first mission to Lebanon

GENEVA (7 October 2011) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Gulnara Shahinian will visit Lebanon from 10 to 17 October 2011, to assess a number of initiatives developed by the authorities to prevent domestic servitude. Ms. Shahinian is the first UN independent expert monitoring contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, to visit the country.

“Slavery like practices remain a grave and persistent problem today,” said the Special Rapporteur, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Government. “This visit provides me with a unique opportunity to discuss and report on the impact of policies and programmes adopted by Lebanon to combat contemporaray forms of slavery.”

Ms. Shahinian’s mandate on contemporary forms of slavery includes issues such as debt bondage and forced labour.

During her eight-day visit, the human rights expert will travel to Beirut to hold discussions with government representatives, members of the judiciary, non-governmental organizations, community members, academics, labour recruitment agencies and others.

A press conference will be held in Beirut at the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur’s visit - on Monday, 17 October 2011 with additional information to follow. Ms. Shahinian will present the visit’s findings at the Human Rights Council in September 2012.

Ms. Gulnara Shahinian was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences in May 2008. She is a lawyer with extensive experience as an expert consultant for various UN, EU, Council of Europe, OSCE and government bodies on children’s rights, gender, migration and trafficking. Ms Shahinian is also a former trustee of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary forms of Slavery.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Independent Expert: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Slavery/SRSlavery/Pages/SRSlaveryIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country page – Lebanon: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/LBIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests during the visit, please contact Ms. Nabila Al Srouji (Tel.: +961 1 978 828 / email Alsourgi@un.org) or write to srslavery@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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