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UN expert embarks on Malaysia mission to assess cultural rights

Malaysia culture

08 September 2017

GENEVA (8 September 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, will visit Malaysia from 11 to 21 September 2017 to assess efforts to implement the right of all people to participate in cultural life.

“I am looking forward to learning how Malaysia endeavours to implement cultural rights, especially in the way people access and enjoy cultural heritage, and how cultural diversity and its expression are respected and promoted,” said Ms. Bennoune, who is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reviewing and advising on cultural rights in all countries.

“I will also assess policies designed to ensure that people from all backgrounds can enjoy their cultural rights, express their historical narratives, manifest their world views and interpret their cultural heritage, without discrimination.”

Ms. Bennoune added: “I will give particular attention to the impact of fundamentalism and extremism, including how they affect women and their cultural rights, as this is part of a wider focus of my work this year.”

During her visit, the expert will meet federal and state authorities, as well as a wide range of people working in the field of culture, including academics, artists and relevant institutions. She will hold similar talks with civil society organisations, representatives of UN agencies and regional organizations, enabling them to share their experiences, discuss good practices and identify challenges in the enjoyment of cultural rights.

Ms. Bennoune, who is visiting Malaysia at the invitation of the Government, will travel to a few other cities to hear a wide variety of perspectives, experiences and initiatives.

At the end of her mission, the expert will host a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday 21 September at 14:00 local time at the Park Royal Hotel, to share her preliminary observations on the visit. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report to a future session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Ms. Karima Bennoune was appointed UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2015. She 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. Ms. Bennoune has worked in the field of human rights for more than 20 years.

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. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights country page - Malaysia

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Malaysia (during and after the visit): Ms. Johanne Bouchard (+ 41 79 752 0486 / [email protected]) or write to [email protected].

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