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Serbia: UN expert to visit to assess freedom of opinion and expression, including media freedom

27 March 2023

GENEVA (27 March 2023)  ̶  The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan, will conduct an official visit to Serbia and Kosovo* from 28 March to 6 April 2023.

She will assess the enjoyment of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and media freedom in Serbia and Kosovo, including the implementation of laws and policies that affect the work of the media and civil society, and the situation of journalists.

During her visit, she will hold discussions with government representatives, the judiciary, the National Assembly, independent institutions, UN, international organisations, embassies, media, academia, human rights defenders, civil society actors.

“I look forward to constructive and fruitful discussions on a number of issues relating to the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including media freedom and the safety of journalists, hate speech and civic space” Khan said.

This will be the second visit of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to Serbia and Kosovo, as Khan’s predecessor Ambeyi Ligabo undertook a visit in October 2004.

At the end of her visit on Thursday 6 April 2023, Khan will share her preliminary observations at a news conference at the Medija Centar in Belgrade, at 10:30 local time. Access to the press conference will be limited to the media.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2024.


*NOTE: All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)

Ms. Irene Khan was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on 17 July 2020. Ms. Khan is the first woman to hold this position since the establishment of the mandate in 1993. She teaches at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and was previously Secretary General of Amnesty International from 2001 to 2009 and head of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) from 2012 to 2019.

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.

For inquiries and media requests, please contact Thibaut Guillet (+41 76 691 1399 /[email protected]) or Laurens van der Woude (+41 22 917 99 42 / [email protected])

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Maya Derouaz ([email protected]) or Dharisha Indraguptha ([email protected])

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

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