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UN expert group on mercenaries to launch first official visit to Comoros

GENEVA (5 May 2014) – The United Nations Working Group* on the use of mercenaries will carry out an official visit to Comoros from 8 to 16 May 2014, to examine and assess the situation of mercenarism and its impacts on human rights in the country. The experts will also look into the issue of private military and security companies and how they operate in Comoros. 

“Comoros has had a turbulent and challenging history involving numerous coup d’états or attempted coups, a number of which were instigated and led by well-known mercenaries,” said Patricia Arias, who currently heads the five-strong group of experts charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination worldwide.

The visit, which is being conducted at the invitation of the Government of Comoros, will be the first mission to the country by Human Rights Council independent experts.
 
The delegation led by Ms. Arias will include fellow Working Group member, Gabor Rona as well as staff from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
 
The experts will hold meetings in Grande Comore and  Anjouan with members of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of Government, the army and military force, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society organizations.

A press conference on the preliminary observations of the Working Group will be held at Hôtel Retaj in Moroni on Friday, 16 May at 10:30 a.m.

The final report on the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2014.

(*) The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination was established in 2005 by the then Commission on Human Rights. It is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Patricia Arias (Chair-Rapporteur, Chile), Mr. Gabor Rona (United States/Hungary), Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa), Ms. El¿bieta Karska (Poland) and Ms. Faiza Patel (Pakistan). Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/WGMercenariesIndex.aspx

Read the Working Group’s reports to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/AnnualReports.aspx

Check the Working Group’s draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/WGMercenariesIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Comoros: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/KMIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact: Natacha Foucard (nfoucard@ohchr.org) or Jolene Tautakitaki jtautakitaki@ohchr.org) or write to mercenaries@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Cécile Pouilly, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org)  

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