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UN rights expert to assess Sami people’s self-determination and land and resource rights

GENEVA (24 August 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, will assess the human rights situation of the Sami people in Finland, Sweden and Norway at a three day conference  organized by the Sami Parliamentary Council and hosted in Hemavan, Sweden from August 25-27, 2015.

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz’s participation at the conference is considered an official visit to the traditional region of the Sami people, who continue to live within their territories spanning the formal boundaries of several States.

“This visit offers a unique opportunity to assess key issues affecting Sami people across the Sápmi region, including their rights to self-determination and to land, water and natural resources, as well as matters involving children and youth, such as education and language,” she said.

“I will also explore progress of the recommendations* made by my predecessor, James Anaya, during the first visit by a UN Special Rapporteur to the traditional area of the Sami people, which took place in Finland in 2010,” she noted.

During her visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with representatives of the Sami people, including the Sami Parliaments and the Governments of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. She will also meet with non-governmental organizations, including the Saami Council, to discuss cross-border issues that affect the Sami people.

The Special Rapporteur will submit in 2016 a report to the UN Human Rights Council with her conclusions and recommendations on the issues examined during the mission.

(*) Check the report by the previous Special Rapporteur:  http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/IPeoples/SR/A-HRC-18-35-Add2_en.pdf

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Philippines), is a human rights activist working on indigenous peoples’ rights. Her work for more than three decades has been focused on movement building among indigenous peoples and also among women, and she has worked as an educator-trainer on human rights, development and indigenous peoples in various contexts. She is a member of the Kankana-ey, Igorot indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/SRIndigenousPeoples/Pages/SRIPeoplesIndex.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.

See the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/Pages/Declaration.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Ms. Hee-Kyong Yoo (+41 22 917 97 23 or at +41 79 444 4187 during the conference / hyoo@ohchr.org) or write to indigenous@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en