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South Korea: UN expert on rights defenders in first official visit to the country

GENEVA (27 May 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya will visit the Republic of Korea from 29 May to 7 June 2013 to evaluate the situation of human rights defenders in the country. This is the first official mission to the country of a UN Human Rights Council expert mandated to assess and report on the situation of rights defenders.

“This visit will allow me to learn more about the context in which defenders work in the Republic of Korea as well as about human rights initiatives taken by the authorities at central and local levels,” Ms. Sekaggya said.

The UN independent expert pointed out that the coming mission “represents a unique opportunity to provide observations and recommendations on South Korea’s legal framework, institutions and other factors influencing the environment in which defenders work.”

Ms. Sekaggya, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Korean authorities, is scheduled to meet with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, UN agencies in the country, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, a broad range of civil society actors and private corporations.

The human rights expert will hold a press conference in Seoul at the end of the visit on Friday, 7 June 2013 at 11:00h (venue to be confirmed), to present her preliminary findings and recommendations.

A final report on the visit will be presented by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014.

Margaret Sekaggya was appointed Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders by the Human Rights Council in March 2008. Ms. Sekaggya is a lawyer from Uganda with over 30 years of experience with justice and human rights issues, including as Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, as a judge and as a university lecturer. She is independent from any Government and serves in her individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/index.htm

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Republic of Korea: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KRIndex.aspx

For further information and media enquiries, please contact Ms. Dolores Infante-Cañibano (+ 41 79 752 0483 / dinfante@ohchr.org) or write to defenders@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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