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16 January 2009

The Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Mr. Walter Kälin, will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 17 to 23 January 2009, at the invitation of the Government of the DRC.

Mr. Kälin, who already visited the DRC in February 2008, will carry out this visit as a representative of a group of seven independent experts, which have been invited by the Human Rights Council through resolutions 7/20 and S-8/1 to make recommendations on how best to assist technically the DRC in addressing the situation of human rights, with a view to obtaining tangible improvements on the ground, taking also into account the needs formulated by the Government of the DRC, and to urgently examine the current situation in the East of the DRC.

During his visit, Mr. Kälin plans to engage in a dialogue with senior Congolese authorities on the implementation of the resolutions. He will also meet with United Nations agencies present on the ground, national and international human rights organizations and the donor community. Mr. Kälin shall visit Kinshasa and Goma.

The findings of the seven experts will be presented to the 10th Human Rights Council session in March 2009.

Mr. Kälin, an independent expert and professor of law at the University of Bern (Switzerland), has been the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons since 2004.

The six other independent experts listed in resolutions 7/20 and s-8/1 are:
· Mrs. Yakin Ertürk, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
· Mr. Leandro Despouy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
· Mr. Anand Grover, Special Rapporteur on the right to health, the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
· Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
· Mr. John Ruggie, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
· Mrs. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict.