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Indigenous Peoples: UN Special Rapporteur in first mission to the Republic of Congo

GENEVA / BRAZZAVILLE (29 October 2010) – UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya will visit the Republic of Congo from 2 to 12 November 2010, in what will be the first mission to the country by an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.

“I will examine and report on the major challenges facing indigenous peoples of the country in the enjoyment of their human rights,” Anaya said announcing his ten-day mission, “with a view towards contributing to steps to address these challenges, as well as to identify good practices.”

“My concern is with those indigenous people who are not part of the majority or dominant ethnic groups of the Republic of Congo. They constitute about 10 % of the total population of the Republic of Congo and live mainly in the remote areas furthest from the capital, Brazzaville,” noted the UN independent expert, who will visit the country at the invitation of the Government.

The Special Rapporteur will travel to Brazzaville, Impfondo and Dongou (Likouala Department), Dolisie and Sibiti (Lekoumou Department) to hold discussions with government representatives, indigenous communities and civil society groups on the human rights of indigenous peoples.

A press conference will be held in Brazzaville at the end of the Special Rapporteur’s visit, on Friday, 12 November 2010. Further details on the time and venue of the press conference will be provided by UNDP in Brazzaville.

The Special Rapporteur will present the visit’s findings in a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

S. James Anaya (USA) is a Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona (United States). He was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in March 2008 by the Human Rights Council. The mandate was created in 2001 by the then Commission on Human Rights, and was renewed most recently in 2010 by the Human Rights Council for a three-year period.

Learn more about the mandate and activities of the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/

For additional information and media requests, please contact Ms. Sarah Ahoui (Tel. +242 06 675 94 94 / e-mail: sara.ahoui@undp.org) or write to indigenous@ohchr.org.