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Human rights: UN expert on racism launches follow-up visit to Australia

GENEVA (23 November 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere, will carry out a follow-up visit to Australia from 28 November to 5 December 2016 to gather first-hand information on the situation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the country.

“During my visit, I will pay special attention to the situation of historically discriminated groups including indigenous populations, persons of African descent, migrants and other vulnerable groups in Australia,” Mr. Ruteere said.

“I will also assess the current trends, manifestations and scope of racism, and follow-up upon the recommendations made in 2001 by the first UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Glèlè-Ahanhanzo,” he noted.

The independent expert, who visits Australia at the invitation of the Government, will survey the policies on multiculturalism, provisions and measures in place to fight discrimination, and assess the existing challenges to its elimination, while focusing on the implementation of laws, policies and measures undertaken in this regard.

“I will seek to engage constructively with the Australian Government as well as with the different State and territorial entities visited on possible ways of ensuring the successful protection, promotion and fulfilment of the rights of the vulnerable groups,” the expert said.

Mr. Ruteere’s mission will take him to Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Alice Springs, where he will meet with Government representatives both at federal, state and territorial level, the legislative and judicial branches, the Australian National Human Rights Commission, international organisations, NGOs, indigenous organisations and community leaders as well as other individuals working in the field of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

At the end of the visit, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 5 December 2016 at 12:30pm, at the UN Information Centre, Level 1, 7 National Circuit Barton, Canberra. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The country mission report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

(*) Check the 2001 report on Australia: http://spinternet.ohchr.org/_Layouts/SpecialProceduresInternet/Download.aspx?SymbolNo=E%2fCN.4%2f2002%2f24%2fAdd.1&Lang=en

ENDS

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere (Kenya) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in November 2011. As Special Rapporteur, he is 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.  Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/SRRacism/Pages/IndexSRRacism.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Australia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/AUIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Julia Dean (+61 02 6270 9205 (m), +61 433 944 427 or / dean@un.org), or Thierry del Prado (+41 79 752 0485 / tdelprado@ohchr.org)

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