UN expert on contemporary forms of slavery launches first mission to Ghana

GENEVA / ACCRA (20 November 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Gulnara Shahinian will visit Ghana from 22 to 29 November 2013, to assess the situation on the ground with regard to slavery-like practices in the country. Ms. Shahinian is the first UN independent expert monitoring contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences to visit Ghana.

“I will explore strategies to address the current challenges in ending such practices, including the use of the worst forms of child-labor in a number of economic sectors, and other forms of contemporary slavery that are often less visible such as domestic servitude, and those emerging from harmful traditional practices,” she said.

The Special Rapporteur will gather first-hand information from all relevant stakeholders, including the Government, civil society, affected communities and UN counterparts working on issues relevant to her mandate, which includes a range of issues and forms of contemporary slavery such as servile marriages and forced and bonded labour.

“During my nine-day visit, I will discuss good practices and the impact of policies and programs which have been adopted to both prevent and address slavery-like practices,” Ms. Shahinian said. “As importantly, I will also conduct field visits so that I can speak to victims and discuss their experiences, challenges and solutions first-hand.”

The UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur is visiting Ghana at the invitation of the Government.

A press conference will be held in Accra on Friday, 29 November 2013, at the conclusion of Ms. Shahinian’s visit.

A comprehensive report on the findings of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2014.

Gulnara Shahinian was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences in May 2008. She is a lawyer with extensive experience as an expert consultant for various UN, EU, Council of Europe, OSCE and government bodies on children’s rights, gender, migration and trafficking. Ms Shahinian is also a former trustee of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary forms of Slavery. Learn more, log on to:

UN Human Rights, country page – Ghana: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/GHIndex.aspx

For more information and media request, please contact:
In Geneva: Ms. Rosa da Costa (+ 41 22 917 9140 / rdacosta@ohchr.org) or write to srslavery@ohchr.org.
In Accra (during the visit): Ms. Cynthia Prah (Tel: 028 5100 313 / cynthia.prah@unic.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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