Header image for news printout

UN expert on freedom of religion or belief to visit the Balkans region

27 April 2009

GENEVA -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ms. Asma Jahangir, will undertake a visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Serbia and Kosovo*. From 27 April to 8 May 2009, the Special Rapporteur will visit the cities of Skopje, Tetovo, Prilep, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica, Novi Pazar, Priština/Prishtinë, Gra?anica/Gracanicë, Prizren, Gjakovë/Djakovica and De?ani/Deçan.

During her mission, Ms. Jahangir is scheduled to hold meetings with various officials responsible for matters of religion or belief. Her visit will also include meetings with representatives of religious or belief communities, civil society organizations, United Nations institutions and regional organizations.

The Special Rapporteur will hold press conferences in Skopje on 29 April 2009, in Belgrade on 5 May 2009 and in Priština/Prishtinë on 8 May 2009 to share her preliminary findings with representatives of the media. Based on the information obtained during the visit, the Special Rapporteur will report to the 13th session of the Human Rights Council with her conclusions and recommendations.

* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Ms. Jahangir, a human rights lawyer based in Pakistan, was appointed Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in July 2004 by the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The Human Rights Council decided in its resolution 6/37 to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years and in this context invited the mandate holder:

– To promote the adoption of measures at the national, regional and international levels to ensure the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief;
– To identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and present recommendations on ways and means to overcome such obstacles;
– To continue her/his efforts to examine incidents and governmental actions that are incompatible with the provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and to recommend remedial measures as appropriate;
– To continue to apply a gender perspective, inter alia, through the identification of gender-specific abuses, in the reporting process, including in information collection and in recommendations.

For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, please visit the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/religion) or contact freedomofreligion@ohchr.org

For more information, call +41 22 917 91 53