17 September 2007

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène, will visit Lithuania from 16 to 19 September, Latvia from 20 to 24 September, and Estonia from 25 to 28 September, at the invitation of the three Governments.

The Special Rapporteur will travel to Vilnius and Visaginas (Lithuania), Daugavpils and Riga (Latvia) and Tallinn, Tartu and Jõhvi (Estonia) to gather first-hand information on the question of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in particular in relation to a number of minority communities.

He is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Governments, both at national and local levels, with members of the legislative and judicial branches, with non-governmental organizations and individuals dealing with issues related to his mandate, as well as with United Nations officials. He will also visit several communities that are reportedly victims of discrimination.

The Special Rapporteur will submit final reports on his visits to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the Human Rights Council in 2008.

Mr. Diène, a former Director of the Department of Intercultural Dialogue and Pluralism for a Culture of Peace at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is a strong promoter of dialogue among cultures. He is the second personality appointed by the Commission on Human Rights – the predecessor of the Human Rights Council – to the position of Special Rapporteur on racism since the mandate was established in 1993. He was appointed on 25 April 2002 by Commission resolution 2002/68. Since then he has conducted official visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy and the Russian Federation.


For use of the information media; not an official record