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Mission to United Kingdom by UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

GENEVA (27 September 2012) - The United Nations Working Group* of Experts on People of African Descent will visit the United Kingdom from 1 to 5 October 2012 to gather first-hand information on the situation of people of African descent in the country.

“During our visit, we will analyze the situation of people of African descent, a historically discriminated group” said Ms. Shepherd who currently heads the five group of independent experts. This will be the first visit to the United Kingdom by an independent expert group appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the rights of people of African descent. The Working Group will visit the country at the invitation of the Government.

“The visit will explore both good practices and challenges faced in realising the rights of people of African descent in the UK” said Ms. Shepherd. “Issues explored will include access to education, health, employment, political participation, people of African descent’s experiences of the justice system including racial profiling and the role of the media among others. I am delighted to have this chance to visit a vibrant and richly multicultural country. I hope this visit will help to give visibility to the concerns of people of African descent in the UK.”

The Working Group will visit London and Liverpool, where they will meet with representatives from the British Government both at the national and local levels, representatives of non-governmental organizations, people of African descent community members, academics, and others working in the field of equality and social inclusion.

At the end of their mission, on Friday 5th October, the Working Group’s experts will share with the media their preliminary findings during a press conference in London, at 2:00 pm, at the UN Refugee Agency, Strand Bridge House, 138 - 142 Strand, London, WC2R 1HH.

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established by resolution 2002/68 of the Commission on Human Rights on 25 April 2002 following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. The UN expert body, among other activities, conducts country visits at the invitation of Governments in order to facilitate in-depth understanding of the situation of people of African descent in various regions of the world and focus on promoting full and effective access to health, education and justice by people of African descent. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/WGAfricanDescent/Pages/WGEPADIndex.aspx

(*) The Working Group is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Verene SHEPHERD (Jamaica), Chair-Rapporteur; Ms. Monorama BISWAS (Bangladesh); Ms. Mireille FANON-MENDES-FRANCE (France); Ms. Mirjana NAJCEVSKA (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Ms. Maya SAHLI (Algeria).

OHCHR Country page – United Kingdom: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GBIndex.aspx

For further information, please contact Sandra Aragon-Parriaux (saragon@ohchr.org)
Kindly register for the press conference with Karen Davies (davies@unric.org)

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

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en