DUSHANBE, March 3, 2016, Asia-Plus -- United Nations human rights expert David Kaye will conduct his first visit to Tajikistan, from March 3-9, to assess the situation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the country, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“I look forward to learning about the challenges to freedom of expression in Tajikistan, as well as initiatives taken to ensure this fundamental right is well protected,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression said.

“I will look, among other issues, at the measures taken to ensure public debate in the country, the independence of the media, as well as the safety of journalists and activists,” the independent expert noted.

Mr. Kaye, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government of Tajikistan, will meet with various national authorities, including the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Interior.  He will also hold discussions with non-governmental organizations, journalists and the media.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council on the main findings of his visit and make recommendations on the promotion of the right to freedom of expression in Tajikistan.

On Wednesday March 9, the human rights expert will host a press conference to share his preliminary observations.

David Kaye (USA) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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.  Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.  They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization.  They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.