UN Expert on minority issues to visit Cameroon

GENEVA (29 August 2013) – United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, will visit Cameroon from 2 to 11 September 2013 to examine the human rights situation of different ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities and travel to different localities to meet directly with minority communities. She is also scheduled to hold high-level meetings with Government officials.

“I want to learn about the legislation, policies and practices that Cameroon has in place to protect minority rights and ensure equality and non-discrimination for all of its peoples in all aspects of society,” Ms. Izsák said.

“Cameroon has a rich diversity of ethnic, religious and linguistic groups throughout the country and this visit provides a unique opportunity for me to learn about their situations from a variety of actors on the ground, including Government representatives and, importantly, members of different communities themselves,” the human rights expert noted.

Ms. Izsák, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will begin her visit in the national capital, Yaoundé, before travelling to different regions, including the North West, South and Far North regions. She will meet with senior Government officials at the national and regional levels, representatives of non-governmental organizations, community members, academics, and others working in the field of minority issues, social inclusion and promotion of equality and non-discrimination.

This is the first information-gathering visit to Cameroon by an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to consider minority issues. Under her UN mandate, Ms. Izsák is required to promote implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities* and to identify challenges as well as positive practices with regard to minority issues.

Following her visit, the Independent Expert will present a report containing her findings and recommendations to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Ms. Izsák will issue a statement to the media and hold a press conference in Yaoundé upon conclusion of her visit on Wednesday 11 September 2013.

Rita Izsák was appointed as Independent Expert on minority issues by the Human Rights Council in June 2011 and took up her functions on 01 August 2011. As Independent Expert, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Learn more:

(*) Check the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Minorities.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country page – Cameroon: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CMIndex.aspx

For further information and media inquiries, please contact:
In Yaoundé (during the visit): Kiven Timothy Franklin Fonyuy (+237 22 50 58 03 / 79 71 05 94 / tfonyuy@ohchr.org).
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Graham Fox (+41 22 917 9640 / gfox@ohchr.org) or write to minorityissues@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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