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Trafficking in persons: First visit of UN independent expert to Belize

GENEVA (9 December 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This is the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council visits the Central American country.

“During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims,” the expert said. Ms. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the Government.

Ms. Ezeilo will engage with State representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize.

The UN Special Rapporteur is charged by the UN Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

“I look forward to this visit and the opportunity to engage with the Government and stakeholders on effective and sustainable ways to combat trafficking in persons,” she stated.

At the end of her visit, on Monday 16 December at 12:00 pm, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City.

She will present a comprehensive report containing her conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council, in June 2014.

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (Nigeria) started her mandate as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children in August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has served in various governmental capacities and consulted for various international organizations, and is currently involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women’s rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women’s rights, and Sharia law. Ms. Ezeilo was conferred with a national honour (Officer of the Order of Nigeria) in 2006 for her work as a human right defender. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/TraffickingIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Belize: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/BZIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva: Pol Planas (+41 22 917 9657 / pplanas@ohchr.org) or write to srtrafficking@ohchr.org)
In Belize City: Yaye Ba (+41 79 444 3993 / yba@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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