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UN expert on contemporary forms of slavery announces first official visit to Niger

GENEVA (5 November 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Urmila Bhoola will visit Niger from 11 to 21 November 2014 to assess the situation in the country regarding contemporary forms of slavery and slavery-like practices.

“Niger criminalized slavery in 2003 and I look forward to discussing with the Government on the impact of the legislation in practice,” said Ms. Bhoola ahead of the first official visit to Niger of an independent expert monitoring contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences.

“This visit will provide an opportunity for a fruitful exchange on the initiatives undertaken by the Government to combat slavery and slavery-like practices and on the challenges they face, as well as to explore solutions to address these,” the human rights expert noted.

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on issues such as hereditary and caste-based forms of slavery, forced labour, debt bondage, serfdom, children working in slavery or slavery-like conditions, domestic servitude, sexual slavery and forced marriage around the world.

During this eleven-day mission, Ms. Bhoola will meet representatives of the State and local authorities, as well as civil society organizations, diplomatic community and the UN.

At the end of her visit, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on Friday, 21 November, at 12:00 noon, in the meeting room of the UN House (428 Avenue du Fleuve, Niamey) to share her preliminary observations.

Following the visit, the expert will present a report containing her conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015.

Urmila Bhoola (South Africa) assumed her mandate as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences on 2 June 2014. Ms. Bhoola is a human rights lawyer working in the Asia Pacific region on international human rights, gender equality and labour law. She has 20 years of experience as a labour and human rights lawyer in South Africa and served as a Judge of the South African Labour Court for five years. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Slavery/SRSlavery/Pages/SRSlaveryIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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

For more information and media requests, please contact Janja Sinkovic (jsinkovic@ohchr.org/ +41 22 928 9356 / during the visit +41 79 444 3993) or write to srslavery@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN mandates:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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