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UN racism expert to examine indigenous rights during planned visit to Australia

UN racism expert to examine indigenous rights during planned visit to Australia

A United Nations human rights expert will examine the rights of indigenous people in Australia during a visit to the country later this month, the UN announced today.

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo, will travel to the country from 22 April to 10 May at the invitation of the Federal Government.

Mr. Glele-Ahanhanzo will use his time in Australia to become acquainted with governmental policies and measures aimed at guaranteeing the rights to equality and non-discrimination of indigenous Australians and people from culturally diverse backgrounds. He will also study the Federal Government's policy of multiculturalism.

The Special Rapporteur is scheduled to meet with officials and parliamentarians at the Federal and State level in Sydney, Cairns, Thursday Island, Darwin, Alice Springs, Melbourne and Canberra.

He will also hold consultations with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Aborigines and Torres Straits Islander Commission. Additional meetings are planned with representatives of indigenous communities, human rights non-governmental organizations and religious groups, as well as interested individuals.

The Special Rapporteur will submit his findings to the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, which will meet respectively in September 2001 and March 2002.

Since his appointment by the Commission on Human Rights in 1993, Mr. Glele-Ahanhanzo, a Professor of constitutional law and member of the Constitutional Court of Benin, has visited Brazil, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Kuwait, Romania, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.