Kathmandu, April 22:

A team of four UN human rights experts arrived here today on a six-day unofficial visit to Nepal to advise the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) on its work related to discrimination and social exclusion.

The four are Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people; Doudou Diene, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism of the Human Rights Council; Yozo Yokota and Chinsung Chung, both members of the Sub Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Minorities.

The experts will share their expertise with OHCHR staff in Kathmandu and OHCHR regional offices, and will also hold meetings with civil society.

The OHCHR said in a release that it has organised this mission with a view to supporting the OHCHR-Nepal in its efforts to further promote the human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination. The independent experts will provide advice that OHCHR-Nepal can use to support and further develop its work on discrimination and social exclusion within its mandate. The experts will also have an opportunity to better understand the challenges faced by Nepal by meeting marginalised and excluded groups during this critical time in the peace process. The issues likely to be discussed include discrimination related to representation, participation and access to justice, and realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.

The rapporteurs’ visit is scheduled to end on April 27. The special rapporteurs serve in their personal capacity as independent experts. The independent status is crucial for them to be able to fulfil their functions impartially. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is delegated to provide the special rapporteurs with appropriate assistance to support them in the execution of their mandates.

Various activities can be undertaken by special procedures, including responding to individual complaints, conducting studies, providing advice on technical cooperation, and engaging in general promotional activities. On official visits, the special rapporteurs usually examine, monitor, advise, and publicly report on forms of racism, human rights of indigenous people and discrimination, or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide, known as thematic mandates.