28. 09. 2017.
UN expert group on people of African descent launches fact-finding visit to Guyana
GENEVA (28 September 2017) – The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent will undertake its first official visit to Guyana from 2 to 6 October 2017 to study the human rights situation of people of African descent in the country.
“We will gather information on any forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance, in order to assess the overall human rights situation of people of African descent in Guyana,” said Sabelo Gumedze, who currently heads the expert group.
The Group’s delegation will travel to Georgetown and Linden, and meet representatives of the Government, relevant communities, civil society and individuals working on issues of racism and racial discrimination.
The delegation, which also includes human rights experts Michal Balcerzak and Ahmed Reid, will look into good practices and gaps in protecting the human rights of people of African descent within the particular multi-ethnic context of Guyana.
The experts will also promote the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), which aims both to highlight the contribution of people of African descent to societies and to strengthen national, regional and international cooperation to ensure the human rights of people of African descent around the world are respected, protected and fulfilled.
A press conference to share the delegation’s preliminary findings will be held on Friday 6 October, at 1430 hrs in the United Nations Offices in Guyana (42 Brickdam & United Nations Place, Stabroek, Georgetown). Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.
For more information on the Working Group including its mandate and activities please visit its page
The Working Groups 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: Guyana
For further information and media requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Ms.Christina Saunders (+41 79 444 5172 / email@example.com)
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org/en/
End to Saudi driving ban for women should be just the first step – UN experts
GENEVA (28 September 2017) – The decision to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive is a first major step towards women's autonomy and independence, but much remains to be done to deliver gender equality in the Kingdom, UN human rights experts* have said.
“We warmly welcome this historic development and urge its immediate and effective implementation,” said the experts. “We pay tribute to the Saudi women who have long struggled against this discriminatory and demeaning ban – some at great personal cost, suffering stigmatization and even imprisonment.
“The Saudi ban on women driving, unique in the world, has placed serious obstacles in the path of women’s enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights.
“We now encourage the Government to repeal all remaining discriminatory laws. If it is serious about the importance of women’s rights for economic reform, addressing remaining barriers to the human rights of women should be the next step in its ambitious reforms.”
The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who visited the Kingdom earlier this year, had called after his visit for the ban to be lifted, arguing that it was not only a matter of human rights, but good economic policy in a country going through major economic and social transformation.
“In January, I praised Vision 2030, the country’s change agenda, as an ambitious and deeply transformative plan that could be a catalyst for women’s rights,” said Mr. Alston. “The end of the driving ban is of crucial importance for Vision 2030 because it unlocks the economic potential of women in the Kingdom, especially those women living in poverty.”
The Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, Kamala Chandrakirana, said: “The end of the driving ban should now be complemented by similar measures ending other restrictions imposed, inter alia, by the male guardianship system, which effectively treats women as dependent minors as well as other discriminatory legislation violating women’s right to equality.
“We welcome the ongoing efforts to abolish regulations requiring male guardian approval in accessing public services, but these reforms have not gone far enough to abolish the discriminatory guardianship system in law and in practice and to ensure the substantive equality of women.”
Mr. Alston, who presented a report on his visit to Saudi Arabia to the Human Rights Council in June, noted that one of the most significant aspects of the royal decree lifting the ban was that it removed a highly restrictive practice held in place by conservative opposition.
“The same situation applies to other features of the guardianship system. In law, women no longer need permission from their male guardian to work, but many employers take it upon themselves to insist on such authorization and the Government hardly ever intervenes against such illegal discrimination,” he said.
The experts encouraged the Government to seize this opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to reform by repealing any discriminatory law contrary to its international human rights obligation in order to ensure substantive equality of women in law and in practice.
(*) The experts: Mr. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; and the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice: the Current Chair-Rapporteur Kamala Chandrakirana (Indonesia), Eleonora Zielinska (Poland), Alda Facio (Costa Rica), Frances Raday (Israel/United Kingdom), and Emna Aouij (Tunisia).
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 independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council 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: Saudi Arabia
For more information and media requests please contact Ms. Junko Tadaki (+41 917 9298 / email@example.com) or write firstname.lastname@example.org
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / email@example.com)
Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org/en/