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Migrants and the Mediterranean: UN expert to visit Tunisia as part of a study on the EU external borders

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GENEVA (31 May 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Tunisia from 3 to 9 June as part of his yearlong study on the management of the external borders of the European Union, which will take him to key transit countries and entry points into the EU.

“Given its proximity to Europe, Tunisia has become a key transit country through which migrants pass on their journey to the continent,” Mr. Crépeau said. “Understanding how this maritime border is managed, and the impact of these approaches on the human rights of migrants, will be an essential part of my study of the European external borders.’’

During his five-day mission to Tunisia, the independent expert will meet with a range of government officials, EU institutions present in the country, international organisations, and migrants themselves, to discuss the complex management of the Tunisian maritime border.

The UN Human Rights Council’s envoy will also visit the border crossing with Libya, and key ports where migrants embark by boat for the journey across the Mediterranean. He will also meet with relevant national authorities responsible for border control and migration, as well as civil society organisations.

Mr. Crépeau’s visit to Tunisia is the second stage in his special study on the management of the EU external borders. Earlier this month, he visited Brussels, and will also visit Turkey in June, as another key transit country for migrants to Europe. Late in the year he will visit the two main entry points into the EU, Greece and Italy.

At the end of the mission, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 8 June at 14h30.

The project launched by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants will result in a special thematic report which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Crépeau is also Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, in Montréal, where he holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law and is scientific director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/migration/rapporteur/index.htm

Check the Address by the Special Rapporteur to the UN General Assembly (21 October 2011):
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11523&LangID=E

Read the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cmw.htm

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva (before the visit): Jacqui Zalcberg (+41 79 201 0124 / jzalcberg@ohchr.org) or write to migrant@ohchr.org
In Tunis (during the visit): Akram Khalifa (+216 71 286 270 / akhalifa@ohchr.org)

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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