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Trafficking in persons: first fact-finding mission ever to Gabon by a UN independent expert

GENEVA (10 May 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will conduct an official visit to Libreville, Gabon, from 14 to 18 May. Her fact-finding mission will be the first ever to the West African country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

“During my mission I will examine the situation of trafficked men, women and children and assess the anti-trafficking measures,” said Ms. Ezeilo, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government.

The UN Special Rapporteur is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

Ms. Ezeilo will meet with representatives of various Government agencies and the judiciary, as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons. “I look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the Government and all relevant authorities in a collective effort to combat all forms of human trafficking in the country,” she said.

The human rights expert will also visit centers and shelters in Libreville, where victims of trafficking receive assistance.

At the end of her visit on Friday 18 May, Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at the UNDP Conference Room, behind the Palais de Justice, Libreville at 11:00h.

She will present a comprehensive report containing her conclusions and recommendations at the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

ENDS

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (Nigeria) started her mandate as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children in August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has served in various governmental capacities and consulted for various international organizations, and is currently involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women’s rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women’s rights, and Sharia law. Ms. Ezeilo was conferred with a national honour (Officer of the Order of Nigeria) in 2006 for her work as a human right defender. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/TraffickingIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Gabon:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/GAIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva (before the visit): Selma Vadala (+41 22 917 9108 / svadala@ohchr.org) or write to srtrafficking@ohchr.org.
In Libreville (during the visit): +41 79 444 3993

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

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