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Panama: UN expert to study situation of indigenous peoples in the country

GENEVA / PANAMA CITY (17 July 2013) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, will visit Panama from 19 to 26 July 2013, to study the situation of indigenous groups the country.

“I hope this visit will contribute to raising awareness of the concerns of indigenous peoples in Panama, including ngäbe bugle, guna, embera, wounaan, bri bri and naso people, concerns that are often ignored by the societies in which they live,” said Mr. Anaya, who visited the country in 2009 to assess the situation of indigenous communities affected by the Chan 75 hydroelectric project.

In announcing his official mission to Panama, the UN independent expert expressed his desire to “get a better understanding of the views of indigenous peoples, representatives of the Government and other stakeholders on the advances and challenges that exist with regard to enjoyment of human rights of indigenous peoples in the country.”

During his seven-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government officials and representatives of indigenous peoples in Panama City and will travel to the indigenous territories of Ngäbe Bugle, Guna Yala and Embera Wounaan.

Upon concluding his mission on Friday 26 July, Mr. Anaya will present his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference, which will be held at 11 am in the Portobelo room of the Hotel El Panama in Panama City.

The Special Rapporteur will prepare a report with his findings and recommendations on issues examined during the mission, which will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2014.

The UN Human Rights Council appointed S. James Anaya (United States) as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in March 2008. Mr. Anaya is a Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/

See the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/512/07/PDF/N0651207.pdf?OpenElement

UN Human Rights Country Page – Panama: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/PAIndex.aspx

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:
In Geneva (before the mission): Maia Campbell (+ 41 22 917 9314 / mcampbell@ohchr.org) or write to indigenous@ohchr.org.
In Panama City: (during the mission): Tilcia Delgado (+507 302 4567 / +507 6671 3569 / tdelgado@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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