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First mission to Singapore by UN expert on Racism/Xenophobia

GENEVA (19 April 2010) – The UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Githu Muigai, will visit Singapore from 21-28 April, to gather “first-hand information on the main issues facing people living in Singapore in relation to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

“This eight-day mission will provide me with the opportunity to understand how the various ethnic communities manage to coexist in Singapore, where the promotion of harmony among these ethnic groups has become a central pillar of nation-building in Singapore,” said Mr. Muigai, announcing the first visit to the country by a Special Rapporteur on racism.

“I hope that my visit will result in the identification of ways and means to address potential problems, but also in the identification of good practices to be shared with other States,” expressed the independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The Special Rapporteur is scheduled to hold meetings with representatives of the Government and with members of the legislative and judicial branches. Discussions will also be held with non-governmental organizations, community members, academics and other individuals working in the field of racism and discrimination.

“Country missions like this one are important because we can bring our expertise to enhance and enrich cooperation with States for the protection and promotion of human rights,” said Mr. Muigai, who will travel to Singapore at the invitation of the Government.

The report on the visit, which will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in June 2011, will be the first report on Singapore by a UN Special Procedure.

A press conference will be held at 12h30 pm on Wednesday 28 April 2010, at the Raffles Hotel, Jubilee Lounge, level 3, 1 Beach Road (North Bridge Road entrance), Singapore 189673.

Mr. Githu Muigai, a Kenyan national, was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur in August 2008. He is a lawyer specialized in international human rights law. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on racism was established in 1993 by the then Commission on Human Rights to examine incidents of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as governmental measures to overcome them. It was further extended by the Human Rights Council in 2008.