11 April 2007, Geneva: - - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin, will visit South Africa from 16 to 26 April 2007 at the invitation of the Government.
The Special Rapporteur will gather first-hand information about past, current and future initiatives in the area of counter terrorism and how such measures affect the protection and promotion of human rights. In Pretoria he will meet with Government officials responsible for justice, defense, safety and security, intelligence, corrections and home affairs. He will also meet with the national police force, the national prosecuting authority, the judiciary and relevant commissions. His visit will also include a trip to Cape Town to meet with Parliamentary committees. In both places the Special Rapporteur will meet with lawyers and non government organizations and he hopes to meet with individuals affected by counterterrorism measures, as well as suspects detained or charged with offences related to terrorism.
The Special Rapporteur plans to hold a press conference on 26 April, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria, to inform the public about his preliminary findings and recommendations. The Special Rapporteur will prepare a comprehensive report on his findings including "best practices" in the area of counter terrorism measures that are compatible with human rights, and a list of recommendations to be presented to the Human Rights Council.
Mr. Scheinin accepted the appointment of Special Rapporteur by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on 7 August 2005. The mandate, established by Resolution 2005/80, has since been assumed by the Human Rights Council. In this capacity, the Special Rapporteur is mandated to develop a regular dialogue and to cooperate with all relevant actors, including Governments, to exchange information, make recommendations and to identify and promote best practices on measures to counter terrorism that respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government and serves in his individual capacity.
Mr. Scheinin has previously served as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1997-2004). He is a Profession of Constitutional Law and International law and Director of the Human Rights Institute at Abo Akademi University in Turku, Finland.
For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, please visit the website: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/terrorism/rapporteur/srchr.htm