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UN rights expert in first visit to Guinea-Bissau to assess the independence of the justice system

United Nations Special Rapporteur Mónica Pinto will carry out an official visit to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau from 10 to 16 October 2015 to assess the independence of judges, lawyers and prosecutors, as well as the functioning of the justice system.

“I wish to identify areas where action is needed to strengthen Guinea-Bissau’s justice system and, in particular, its capacity to fight against impunity, in order to reinforce the rule of law and the protection of human rights in the country,” said the independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the independence of judges and lawyers. “I will also assess both the achievements and challenges faced by the country in ensuring the independence of the judiciary, the free exercise of the legal profession, as well as due process and fair trial and guarantees and access to justice,” Ms. Pinto said. During her visit to Guinea-Bissau, at the invitation of the authorities, Ms. Pinto will meet with governmental and legislative authorities, as well as with judges, lawyers and prosecutors in Bissau and Bafatá. She will also meet representatives from civil society, academia, UN agencies and the diplomatic and donor community. At the end of the visit on Friday 16 October, Ms. Pinto will hold a press conference to present her preliminary observations. The press conference will be held at 12:30pm at the Conference room of the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. The Special Rapporteur will then present a comprehensive report containing her findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2016.

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