Contemporary forms of slavery: UN human rights expert to visit Belgium

Geneva, February 16, 2015.- United Nations Special Rapporteur Urmila Bhoola will carry out her first official visit to Belgium from 19 to 26 February 2015. The human rights expert will gather information on the legislative, policy and institutional framework to tackle contemporary forms of slavery in the country, and ensuring protection of human rights of the victims.

As an independent expert, Ms. Bhoola is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on contemporary forms of slavery, which include forced labour, domestic servitude, worst forms of child labour and forced marriage.

“I look forward to engaging with representatives of the authorities, civil society organizations, the national human rights institution and other relevant parties,” the Special Rapporteur said ahead of her mission, which will also look at possible good practices in fighting contemporary forms of slavery, as well as challenges Belgium may face in this regard.

“Most importantly, I will meet with victims of modern forms of slavery to hear from them about their experiences and what support they need,” the rights expert stressed.

At the end of her eight-day visit to Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Namur, Ms. Bhoola will share her preliminary observations at a press conference on Thursday, 26 February 2015, at 12:00 noon, at the conference room of the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC).

Following the visit, the Special Rapporteur will present a report containing her conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015.

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