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2 September 2008

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Asma Jahangir will undertake a country visit to Turkmenistan from 4 to 10 September 2008, at the invitation of the Government.

The Special Rapporteur will visit the cities of Ashgabat, Dashoguz and Turkmenbashy. She is scheduled to hold meetings with Government 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 agencies and international organizations.

At the end of the mission, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings with representatives of the media. Based on the information obtained during the visit, the Special Rapporteur will present a report containing her conclusions and recommendations to a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

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. On 14 December 2007, the Human Rights Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years and in this context invited the mandate holder (see Human Rights Council resolution 6/37):

· 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 ( http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/religion/index.htm


For use of information media; not an official record or contact freedomofreligion@ohchr.org