GENEVA / BUCHAREST (28 October 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston will undertake an official visit to Romania from 2 to 11 November 2015.
Alston will assess the efforts of the Romanian government to eradicate poverty and how the government takes into account its international human rights obligations in those efforts. His visit will focus on the situation of Roma, of people with disabilities and of children, groups that are disproportionately affected by poverty and related human rights problems.
“Even in countries that are very conscious of human rights issues, the rights of those living in poverty are often mistakenly treated as matters that do not involve rights,” Alston said.
“It is of concern that more than 70 per cent of the Roma minority in Romania live below the poverty line. They also seem to face a multitude of other human rights challenges, ranging from forced evictions from their homes to excessive use of force by the police,” the independent expert noted. “In addition, poverty rates among some groups of children are very high, and there is considerable concern about how people with disabilities are treated,” Alston added.
The rights expert will visit Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Bacau county during his ten days in Romania. He will meet and engage with the central government and with local governments, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations, representatives of international organizations, courts, academics and people living in extreme poverty.
“The eradication of poverty is possible if the Romanian government and society at large are serious about addressing this scourge. But it requires political will to respect and protect the human rights of those who are most vulnerable. I look forward to learning how Romania addresses these issues through government policies, public spending and its institutions,” Alston said.
On Wednesday 11 November 2015 at 10.30am, the Special Rapporteur will hold at a press conference at the UN Conference Room (UN House, 48 A Primaverii Bvd.011975, sector 1, Bucharest) to present his preliminary observations on the visit. His full findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council in June 2016.
Philip Alston (Australia) took office as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in June 2014, following his appointment by the Human Rights Council. He is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and has previously served the UN in several capacities. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/SRExtremePovertyIndex.aspx
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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