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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: UN expert to assess implementation of cultural rights

GENEVA (1st November 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Farida Shaheed will visit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from 5 to 9 November 2012 to assess the country’s efforts to enhance the right to participate in cultural life and to enjoy and access cultural heritage, with a specific focus on minorities and indigenous communities, the poor, children and women.

“I am particularly eager to learn how the country understands the realization of cultural rights in relation to its policies for the promotion of tourism,” said the independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of cultural rights. “I also intend to learn more about how the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines relate to their own history, including when it comes to documenting and writing or otherwise preserving the narratives and collective memories of slavery and its legacy.”

Ms. Shaheed stressed that cultural rights are essential tools for development, peace and the eradication of poverty, and for building social cohesion, mutual respect and understanding between individuals and groups, in all their diversity. “I am looking forward to discuss with the Government good practices and achievements, and the remaining challenges in the implementation of cultural rights,” she said.

“During my mission, I will meet with a wide range of actors in the cultural field, including State institutions, academics and artists, as well as civil society representatives, to understand how Saint Vincent and the Grenadines endeavors to implement cultural rights,” the human rights expert said.

The Special Rapporteur’s visit will be the first ever to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines by an independent expert designated by the Human Rights Council. The UN body established the new mandate in 2009 to identify best practices and obstacles to the implementation of cultural rights, and fostering the adoption of measures aimed at their promotion and protection.

Ms. Shaheed, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet with representatives of Governmental institutions, including senior officials in the areas of culture, education and foreign affairs. She will also meet with academics, and representatives of communities and civil society organizations. The expert will visit Kingstown, Fancy, Owia and Sandy Bay, as well as Union Island, one of the Grenadines Islands.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference in Kingstown on Friday 9 November from 11:00 a.m., to share her preliminary conclusions and observations on the visit. Further details to follow.

Ms. Farida Shaheed took up her functions as Independent Expert and then Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in August 2009. She has worked for more than 25 years promoting and protecting cultural rights by fostering policies and projects designed in culturally sensitive ways to support the rights of marginalized sectors, including women, peasants, and religious and ethnic minorities. Ms. Shaheed has been the recipient of several national and international human rights awards, and is an experienced participant in negotiations at international, regional and national levels. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/CulturalRights/Pages/SRCulturalRightsIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/VCIndex.aspx

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Kingstown: Mylène Bidault, (+ 41 79 444 4355 / mbidault@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Amanda Flores (+ 41 22 917 91 86 / aflores@ohchr.org) or write to srculturalrights@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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