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Tuvalu: UN expert to visit to assess cultural rights

GENEVA (16 September 2019) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, will visit Tuvalu from 18 to 25 September 2019 to assess efforts to implement cultural rights for all.

“This is the first visit by a UN Special Rapporteur to the country since 2012 and the first visit of the cultural rights mandate to the Pacific,” said Bennoune, who is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reviewing and advising on cultural rights in all countries.

“I look forward to learning how the newly elected Government of Tuvalu understands cultural rights and how it plans to implement them in ways that respect universal human rights norms. I am also interested in how the new Government aims to promote and respect cultural diversity and combat discrimination.”

“Given the particular situation of Tuvalu, I will also assess policies designed to mitigate the grave threat climate change poses to the culture and cultural heritage of Tuvalu, and how culture is and can be used to respond to the existential challenges resulting from climate change.”

The expert hopes to visit a number of islands and meet central and local authorities, as well as a range of people working in the field of culture, including academics, artists, human rights advocates and women human rights defenders, and relevant institutions. She will hold talks with civil society organisations and representatives of UN agencies, enabling them to share their experiences, discuss good practices and identify challenges in the enjoyment of cultural rights.

At the end of her mission, the Special Rapporteur will share her preliminary observations at a news conference at 13:30 local time on Wednesday, 25 September. Access to the news conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

Bennoune will present a comprehensive report on her visit, including recommendations to the Government and the international community, to a future session of the UN Human Rights Council.


Ms Karima Bennoune was appointed as Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2015. Ms Bennoune grew up in Algeria and the United States. She is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California-Davis School of Law where she teaches courses on human rights and international law. Her research and writing, including on cultural rights issues, has been widely published in leading journals and periodicals. Her mandate covers all countries and has most recently been renewed by Human Rights Council resolution 37/12.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page: Tuvalu

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Ms Johanne Bouchard (+41 22 917 96 30 before the mission/ +41 079-444-5515 during the mission) or write to srculturalrights@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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