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Freedoms of assembly and association: UN expert announces first official visit to the USA

WASHINGTON / GENEVA (7 July 2016) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will visit the United States of America from 11 to 27 July 2016 to make an in-depth assessment on the extent to which 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 United States 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.

“The United States was the main driving force behind the establishment of my mandate in 2010, and its recent renewal for another period of three years,” the expert noted.

“This visit will give me an unique opportunity to gather first-hand information on any good practices developed at the federal and state level in relation to the exercise of the rights falling under my mandate, but also to examine existing challenges in this regard, and advise the authorities how to overcome these”, he said.

During his sixteen-day visit, at the invitation of the Government, the Special Rapporteur will travel to Washington DC; New York, NY; Baltimore, MD; Ferguson, MO; Cleveland, OH; Phoenix, AZ; New Orleans, LA; Jackson, MS; and Philadelphia, PA, where he will meet with a wide range of officials, as well as with civil society actors.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on Wednesday 27 July at 11:00 am at the United Nations Information Center, 1775 K St NW #400, Washington. Access to the press conference will be limited to journalists. RSVPs are required to access the building. For media queries, please contact Ms. Karen Smyth (+ 1 202 454 2106 / cell: +1 301 351 0025 / smythk@un.org).

A final report of this visit will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

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 – United States:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Washington (during the visit, and for RSVPs for the Press Conference): Deborah Deyoung (deyoung@un.org / +1 202 331 8670)
In Geneva (before and after the visit):  Mr. Guillaume Pfeifflé (+41 22 917 9384 / 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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