November 29, 2017

UN Expert on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights to Visit Wealthy US


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Treatment of poor and homeless in parts of the US

Geneva, Switzerland – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will travel for fifteen days in December across the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

The visit from December 1-15, is designed to examine government efforts to eradicate poverty in the country, and how they relate to US obligations under international human rights law, according to a UN statement.

“Some might ask why a UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would visit a country as rich as the United States. But despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality,” said Alston.

“I would like to focus on how poverty affects the civil and political rights of people living within the US, given the United States’ consistent emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy, and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” added Alston.

The UN official is slated to meet government officials, people living in poverty, civil society organizations and academic experts to address a wide range of key areas including the criminal justice system, welfare and healthcare, barriers to political participation, homelessness, and basic social rights such as the right to social protection, housing, water and sanitation.

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will travel to the following states:

Dec 1        Washington, DC

Dec 4-5     Los Angeles, California

Dec 6        San Francisco, California

Dec 7-8     Montgomery, Alabama

Dec 9        Atlanta, Georgia

Dec 10-11  Puerto Rico

Dec 12      Washington, DC

Dec 13      Charleston, West Virginia

Dec 14-15  Washington, DC

According to his office, Alston’s final report on his US visit will be available in Spring 2018 and will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2018. He is mandated by the Council to monitor, report and advise on extreme poverty and human rights around the world.