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Cultural rights: UN Special Rapporteur launches first mission to Russia

GENEVA / MOSCOW (13 April 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, will undertake her first official fact-finding visit to the Russian Federation from 15 to 26 April 2012, to assess the steps adopted by the authorities to ensure the right of all individuals to participate in cultural life, including the rights to artistic freedom, to manifest one’s own cultural identity, and to access and enjoy cultural heritage.

“During my mission, I wish to meet with a wide range of actors in the cultural field, including State institutions, academics and artists, to understand how the Russian Federation endeavours to implement cultural rights,” Ms. Shaheed said. “I am particularly eager to better understand the already vivid debates taking place in the Russian Federation over cultural issues.”

“I look forward to engaging with the Government to discuss good practices and achievements as well as remaining challenges in the implementation of cultural rights, at the local and federal level,” noted the Special Rapporteur, designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of cultural rights.

Ms. Shaheed will visit Moscow, St. Petersburg, Altai Krai and Tatarstan during her 12-day mission, where she will meet with Government officials at the federal and regional level, as well as representatives of public institutions and academic and research institutes in the field of cultural policies, cultural heritage and cultural rights. She will also hold talks with representatives of minorities and indigenous peoples, and civil society organizations.

The Special Rapporteur will host a press conference on Thursday 26 April in Moscow, to share her preliminary conclusions and observations on the visit. Further details to follow.

ENDS

Ms. Farida Shaheed took up her functions as Independent Expert and then Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in 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. Ms. Shaheed 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.

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

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

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Moscow: Ms. Mylène Bidault (+ 41 79 444 4917 / mbidault@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Ms. Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 92 54 / bvukovic@ohchr.org) or write to ieculturalrights@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN Special Rapporteurs:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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