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Geneva,10 May 2007: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Mr. Martin Scheinin, will visit the United States of America from 16 to 25 May at the invitation of the Government.

The purpose of his visit is to examine and discuss US counter terrorism laws, policies and practices, including issues regarding the detention, arrest and trial of terrorist suspects and the rights of victims of terrorism or persons negatively impacted by counter terrorism measures. The Special Rapporteur is scheduled to meet with senior government officials, academics, lawyers, and representatives of international organizations, institutes and non-governmental organizations to gather first-hand information about current and future counter terrorism initiatives and how such measures affect human rights and fundamental freedoms. In addition to meetings in Washington, DC he also intends to travel in order to visit detention centers and observe criminal proceedings relevant to his mandate.

The Special Rapporteur plans to issue his preliminary findings during a press conference scheduled to take place on 25 May in Washington, DC. The Special Rapporteur will also present his conclusions and recommendations to the United Nations 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 Professor of Constitutional 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