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UN human rights expert to visit UK to assess racism post Brexit vote

UK: racism

26 April 2018

GENEVA (26 April 2018) - The UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, will conduct an official visit to the UK from 30 April to 11 May 2018, indicating her mission will pay particular attention to the impact of Brexit on racial equality in the country. 

“My mission across the country, including stops in London and Belfast, will focus on explicit incidents of racism and related intolerance, as well as attention to structural forms of discrimination and exclusion that may have been exacerbated by Brexit,” she said.

“Xenophobic discrimination and intolerance aimed at refugees, migrants and even British racial, religious and ethnic minorities will also be an important focus.”

The Special Rapporteur said she would look at discrimination in the administration of justice and policing, counter-terrorism, and obstacles to full enjoyment of economic, social and political rights. She said she would also examine the status of extreme right-wing political parties, and the impact of racist and xenophobic hate speech - including such expressions by political leaders - on racial equality in the country. 

“I hope that my consultations will include substantive input from women, young people, faith leaders, sexually and gender diverse populations, as well as refugees, migrants (including those with irregular status), people behind bars, those with disabilities, and others whose experiences with racial and ethnic discrimination require urgent attention,” she added.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a news conference on 11 May 2018 at 12:30 pm to share her preliminary assessment of the situation in the UK. It will be held at the offices of the International Maritime Organisation, 4 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7SR, in committee rooms 6-7-8. Access to the news conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

Ms Achiume will submit a full report of her visit to the June 2019 session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.


Ms E. Tendayi Achiume (Zambia) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in September 2017. Ms. Achiume is currently a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, and a research associate of the African Center for Migration and Society (ACMS), at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

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 – United Kingdom

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:

During the visit: Ms. Claire Mathellié (+41 22 917 9151; [email protected] and [email protected])

In Geneva (before and after the visit): Yaye Ba (+41 22 917 99 32 /[email protected]), Elena Dietenberger (+41 22 917 98 36/ [email protected]) or [email protected]

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: