GENEVA (26 October 2023) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, will conduct an official country visit to Georgia from 30 October to 7 November 2023.
The Special Rapporteur will engage with government authorities, the office of the Public Defender, members of civil society organisations and human rights defenders; lawyers; journalists and other media workers, the academia and other relevant stakeholders. The Special Rapporteur will also hold meetings with the UN country team and the diplomatic corps in the country.
During her visit, Lawlor will examine laws, policies and practical measures that impact the environment in which human rights defenders and civil society organisations are able to carry out their human rights work.
The expert will travel to Tbilisi and the Kutaisi region, and other areas to meet government officials, human rights defenders and other stakeholders. The visit is taking place at the invitation of the Government.
The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on Tuesday 7 November at 11:00 am local time at the Courtyard By Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi, 4 Freedom Square, Tbilisi, Georgia. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.
The expert will present her report to the Human Rights Council in March 2025.
Ms. Mary Lawlor (Ireland) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders by the Human Rights Council in 2020. She is currently Associate Professor of Business and Human Rights at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) at Trinity College Dublin Business School. In 2001 she founded Front Line Defenders - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders to focus on human rights defenders at risk. As Executive Director between 2001 and 2016, Ms. Lawlor represented Front Line Defenders and played a key role in its development. Ms. Lawlor was previously Director of the Irish Office of Amnesty International from 1988 to 2000, after becoming a member of the Board of Directors in 1975 and being elected its President from 1983 to 1987.
The expert is 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.
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