Banjul, 25 September 2012
The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Reine Alapini-Gansou, will undertake an official country visit to Tunisia from 27 September to 5 October 2012. It is the first official visit of the UN and African Commission Special Rapporteures on human rights defenders to North Africa since the popular uprising which has swept the region since December 2010.
“Human rights defenders have played an essential part in the call for democracy, justice and human rights across the region. Moreover, the “Arab Spring” appears to have contributed to greater awareness of human rights among the population and to the emergence of a new generation of human rights defenders. We are intrigued and excited to observe the working conditions for defenders of all generations in the country that in many ways triggered the “Arab Spring”,” said Margaret Sekaggya.
The two experts are visiting Tunisia at the invitation of the Government. “Our aim is to evaluate the situation of human rights defenders in Tunisia in an objective and impartial manner. This is a unique opportunity to provide observations and recommendations on Tunisia’s legal framework, institutions and other factors influencing the situation of defenders,” added Reine Alapini-Gansou.
The Special Rapporteurs are scheduled to meet with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, a broad range of civil society actors, the United Nations and diplomatic delegations. They are due to visit Tunis, Jendouba, Le Kef and Sidi Bouzid.
The two experts will hold a press conference in Tunis at the Novotel Mohammed V at the end of the visit on 5 October 2012 at 11:00, during which they will present their preliminary findings.
A final report on the visit will be presented by Margaret Sekaggya to the Human Rights Council in March 2013. Reine Alapini Gansou will present hers to the African Commission’s 53th Session in April 2013.
Margaret Sekaggya was appointed Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders by the Human Rights Council in March 2008. She is independent from any Government and serves in her individual capacity. Mrs. Sekaggya is a lawyer from Uganda with over 30 years of experience with justice and human rights issues, including as Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, as a judge and as a university lecturer.
Reine Alapini-Gansou, a lawyer from Benin, was appointed Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in November 2011 for a second term, having previously held the same function from 2005 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011 she served as Chairperson of the ACHPR.
For more information about the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/index.htm
For more information about the mandate of the ACHPR Special Rapporteur: