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Republic of Korea: first official visit by UN expert on freedoms of peaceful assembly and association

Korean version

GENEVA (19 January 2016) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will visit the Republic of Korea from 20 to 29 January 2016 to assess in-depth to what extend the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are enjoyed in the country.

Mr. Kiai’s visit will be the first information-gathering mission to the Republic of Korea by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realization of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide. It will take place at the invitation of the Government.

“The Human Rights Council has recognized both rights as essential components of democracy, and called on States to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely,” the expert said. “This visit will give me an opportunity to gather first-hand information in that regard in a country that has voiced its commitment to human rights on repeated occasions.”
 
During his nine-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will travel to Seoul, Ansan, Gyeongju and Pohang. He will meet with State officials, members of the judiciary and of Parliament, as well as representatives of the National Human Rights Institute, the civil society, and the diplomatic community. He also hopes to meet with representatives of the private sector.

“I look forward to a constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders I am due to meet,” the expert added.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on Friday 29 January from 14.30 pm at the Korea Press Center, Taepyeongno 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul.

The expert will present a final report of his visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2016.

Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya) took up his functions as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in May 2011. He is appointed in his personal capacity as an independent expert by the UN Human Rights Council. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.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 – Republic of Korea: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KRIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact in Geneva, before and after the visit: Mr. Guillaume Pfeifflé (+41 79 109 6873 / gpfeiffle@ohchr.org)

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

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