United Nations Independent Cultural Rights Expert Farida Shaheed, will launch her first official mission to Morocco from September 5- 16, 2011 to assess efforts by the authorities to promote and protect cultural rights, and to identify best practices and obstacles to their realization.
During her twelve-day mission, the Independent Expert will examine legislation and practices related to access to cultural heritage, cultural diversity and respect of cultural rights, including within the education system. She will also consider issues related to the cultural rights of minority groups and indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and will see how gender impacts such rights.
“This mission takes place shortly after Morocco has enacted a new Constitution which places greater emphasis on cultural rights and diversity and confers an official status to the language of the Amazigh ethnic group,” the human rights expert said. “One of my aims is to assess how the new Constitution facilitates the cultural rights of Morocco’s diverse population.”
Ms. Shaheed will meet Government officials and civil society representatives, in addition to academics, grass roots leaders, and representatives from indigenous peoples and minority groups. “I will focus on issues linked to the enjoyment of cultural rights, starting with the right to participate in cultural life, and look at measures adopted to create an open cultural climate and to foster an intercultural understanding, including in the media,” said Ms. Shaheed, who will visit the country at the invitation of the Government.
The Independent Expert will host a press conference to share her preliminary conclusions and observations on the visit on Friday, 16 September 2011 .