UN Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty to visit Zambia

GENEVA -- The United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, will visit Zambia from 20 to 28 August 2009 at the invitation of the Government.

"I want to collect first-hand information on the situation of people living in extreme poverty," said Ms Sepúlveda. "Zambia has been implementing a variety of social protection programmes which are essential for any State wishing to reduce the incidence of extreme poverty, and I want to analyse them from a human rights perspective"

Ms Sepúlveda is the first UN human rights expert to visit Zambia. "Visits like this one are important because UN experts can raise the attention of the international community on what causes human rights violations", said Ms Sepúlveda. "Everything, from the global economic crisis to droughts and rains, can have an impact on the life of people living in poverty and on how they enjoy their rights."

The Independent Expert will hold meetings with senior Government officials including the Vice President, the Minister of Justice and representatives from the Ministry of Community Development & Social Services. She will also meet UN representatives, the donor community and non governmental organizations.

During her mission, Ms Sepúlveda will visit communities living in extreme poverty in Lusaka, Chipata, Katete and Chirundu.

Based on the information collected during the visit, the Expert will prepare a report and make recommendations on strengthening social protection programmes using a human rights perspective. This report will be presented at the UN Human Rights Council in 2010.

Magdalena Sepúlveda is the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty since May 2008. She is a Chilean lawyer currently working as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva.

A press conference will be held on Friday 28 August 2009 at 11.30 at the U.N. House in Lusaka.