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UN Special Rapporteur arrives in RP

Irene Khan
Arrival of UNSR for freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan at NAIA Terminal 1 on board MH806 from Kuala Lumpur. (JERRY S. TAN)

United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan, arrived in the country on January 22 to conduct an official visit to the Philippines from January 23 to February 2, 2024.

The Special Rapporteur will assess a range of issues related to the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the legal and policy framework and the safety of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society actors in the country.

During her visit, Khan will meet with various actors, including officials from the Government, the House of Representatives, the judiciary, independent institutions, the international community, the media, human rights defenders, academia and civil society actors. She will travel to Manila, Cebu, Baguio and Tacloban.

The expert will hold a press conference on Friday 2 February at 12:00 noon local time at the UN House. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

Khan was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on 17 July 2020. Ms Khan is the first woman to hold this position since the establishment of the mandate in 1993. She teaches at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and was previously Secretary General of Amnesty International from 2001 to 2009 and head of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) from 2012 to 2019.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

The Special Rapporteur will present her report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2025.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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