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Tunisia: UN rights expert launches mission to assess the independence of the justice system

GENEVA (24 November 2014) – United Nations expert on the independence of the judiciary Gabriela Knaul will undertake an official visit to Tunisia from 27 November to 5 December 2014 to assess the independence of judges, lawyers, and prosecutors, as well as the working of the justice system.

“The purpose of this visit is to assess both the achievements and challenges faced by the country in ensuring the independence of the judiciary and the free exercise of the legal profession during this key transitional period,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers said.

“I also wish to identify areas where progress is lacking and action is needed to strengthen Tunisia’s democratic institutions and its institutional and legislative framework relevant to the justice sector, in order to reinforce the rule of law and the protection of human rights in the country,” Ms. Knaul explained.

The UN independent expert, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet with representatives from the executive and legislative branches of power, as well as with judges, prosecutors and lawyers in Tunis and Nabeul. She will also meet with representatives from civil society, academia, UN agencies and the diplomatic community.

At the end of the visit on Friday 5 December, Ms. Knaul will hold a press conference to present her preliminary findings and observations at 11:00 a.m. at the Novotel (tbc), in Tunis.

A report containing the final findings and conclusions of the Special Rapporteur will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015.

ENDS

Gabriela Knaul took up her functions as UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on 1 August 2009. In that capacity, she acts independently from any Government or organization. Ms. Knaul has a long-standing experience as a judge in Brazil and is an expert in criminal justice and the administration of judicial systems.
Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.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 – Tunisia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/TNIndex.aspx

For further information, please check:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact (English or French):
In Tunis: Mr. Abou Abass (mobile: +216 98 74 50 93 / aabou@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Ms. Elena Kountouri Tapiero (+41 22 917 96 72 / ekountouri-tapiero@ohchr.org) or write to srindependence@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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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en