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UN expert to assess cultural rights in Cyprus

GENEVA / NICOSIA (20 May 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Karima Bennoune will visit Cyprus from 24 May to 2 June 2016 to assess the country’s efforts to enhance the right of all persons to participate in cultural life and to enjoy and access cultural heritage. 

“I am eager to learn how Cyprus understands the realization of cultural rights and endeavors to implement them through its policies, especially in the areas of access and enjoyment of cultural heritage,” said the independent expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise in the field of cultural rights in all countries.

“I will also assess policies developed to ensure the right by all people irrespective of their group affiliation, including people of mixed identities and migrants, to enjoy their cultural rights, express their historical narratives and interpretation of their own cultural heritage and manifest their culture,” Ms. Bennoune noted.

During her ten-day visit, the expert will meet with State authorities, at the national as well as local levels, as well as a wide range of stakeholders working in the fields of cultural policies, cultural heritage and cultural rights, including academics and institutions. She will also meet with civil society organizations and relevant UN and regional organisations actors to discuss good practices and challenges concerning the enjoyment by all of the right to access and enjoy cultural heritage.

Ms. Bennoune, who is carrying out this country visit at the invitation of the Government, is eager to travel all over the island to learn of varied perspectives, experiences and initiatives and develop a holistic understanding of cultural rights in Cyprus.

At the end of her mission, the expert will host a press conference in Nicosia on Thursday 2 June 2016 at 11:00 pm, at the Home for Cooperation conference room (28 Marcou Dracou str., Nicosia), to share her preliminary conclusions and observations on the visit. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council at its 34th session, in March 2017.

Ms. Karima Bennoune was appointed UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2015. She grew up in Algeria and the United States. She is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California-Davis School of Law where she teaches courses on human rights and international law. Ms. Bennoune has worked in the field of human rights for more than 20 years. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/CulturalRights/Pages/SRCulturalRightsIndex.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. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Cyprus:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/CYIndex.aspx 

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Cyprus: Ms. Mylène Bidault, (+ 41 79 444 39 93 / mbidault@ohchr.org) or Ms. Johanne Bouchard (+41 79 444 5515 / jbouchard@ohchr.org) or write to srculturalrights@ohchr.org.

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

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