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MFWA wants free expression high on agenda of UN Universal Periodic Review

(MFWA/IFEX) - 18 February 2011 - Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is advocating for the inclusion of issues of freedom of expression and media rights in the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of West African states.

The UPR which began in 2008 is a unique mechanism of the United Nations to review the human rights record of all states. States are reviewed every four years based on an assessment by the state being reviewed as well as by UN treaty bodies and civil society under a special procedure.

Freedom of Expression is limited in the region through restrictive media laws and criminal defamation or harassment and attacks on journalists.

MFWA intends to submit stakeholders' reports and recommendations to state delegates on the free expression situation to ensure that state recommendations include a section on monitoring improvements in the state of the media and free expression.

At the 10th session of the UPR in Geneva, Switzerland, in early February 2011, MFWA lobbied a number of state delegates to raise issues related to free expression and press freedom in the next sessions of the UPR. Representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, and Spain, among others, agreed to consider MFWA's recommendations in preparation of their remarks.

For more information on the UPR click here

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