UN rights expert on visit to Somalia to assess women’s status, freedom of speech

24 August 2005

A United Nations human rights expert has begun an 11-day mission to East Africa to look into a variety of rights issues in Somalia, including the status of women, freedom of speech and opinion, prison conditions and the administration of justice.

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar, will meet with a variety of diplomats, local authorities, civil society representatives and international organizations in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi and in different regions of strife-torn Somalia as time and security permit.

During the scheduled visit to Somalia, set for 23-29 August, he will also look into the rights of children and the right to education, demilitarization, economic, social and cultural rights and civil society in a country that has had no functioning government since the collapse in 1991 of the government of Muhammad Siad Barre.

This is Mr. Alnajjar's fifth annual fact-finding visit to the country since being appointed Independent Expert by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001. The resulting report will be published as mandated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. Alnajjar is a professor of political science at the University of Kuwait and carries out his duties on an independent voluntary basis.


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