6 October 2006

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène, will visit Italy from
9 to 13 October 2006 at the invitation of the Government.

The Special Rapporteur will travel to Rome, Sicily and the island of Lampedusa to gather first-hand information on the question of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. He will assess in particular the factors of discrimination in relation to foreigners, including migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers as well as concerning members of the Jewish, Muslim, Roma and Sinti communities.

Mr. Diène is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Italian Government, both at national and local levels, with members of the legislative and judiciary branches, with non-governmental organizations and individuals dealing with issues related to his mandate, as well as with United Nations officials.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a final report on the visit to the fourth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the spring of 2007.

Mr. Diène, a former UNESCO Director of the Department of Intercultural Dialogue and Pluralism for a Culture of Peace, is the second personality to be 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. Since taking up the mandate in 2002 he has conducted official visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland and the Russian Federation.
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For use of the information media; not an official record