GENEVA (23 October 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Najat Maalla M’jid will undertake a fact-finding mission to Benin from 28 October to 8 November 2013. This will be the first visit to the country by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
“In all countries in the world there are children victims or vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, and such children need special consideration,” Ms. Maalla M’jid said.
“I will focus on the scope, the patterns and the root causes of the phenomena of sale and sexual exploitation of children,” the human rights expert noted. “I will pay particular attention to the strategies and programs established in terms of prevention and protection of vulnerable children and child victims.”
The Special Rapporteur, who visits Benin at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Cotonou, Porto Novo, Abomey-Calavi, Parakou, Comè, Lokossa and Aplahoué to meet with State authorities responsible for preventing and combating the sale and sexual exploitation of children. She will also meet with representatives from the United Nations, the diplomatic community, civil society and private sector representatives.
During her 12-day mission, Ms. Maalla M’jid will also visit children care centres, shelters and programmes and meet the children victims and at risk.
The Special Rapporteur will share with the Government her preliminary observations based on her findings during the visit. The Special Rapporteur will present a report containing her findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2014.
A press conference will be held at the end of the mission on Friday 8 November at 13:00 in UNFPA conference room, Lot 111, zone résidentielle 01 BP506, Cotonou.
Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid (Morocco) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the sale of children in May 2008. She is independent from any government or organization. Ms. Maalla M’jid is paediatrician and member of the Commission on the Rights of the Child of the Moroccan National Consultative Council on Human Rights, and the founder of the non-governmental organization BAYTI, the first programme addressing the situation of children living in the street in Morocco. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/ChildrenIndex.aspx
OHCHR Country Page – Benin: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/BJIndex.aspx
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