Prof. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Issues Statement on Chile

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Professor Philip Alston, Senior Advisor Christiaan van Veen (center left), and Junko Tadaki, OHCHR (far left), meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet

CHRGJ Faculty Director, Professor Philip Alston issued a statement Tuesday in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights at the conclusion of his country visit to Chile.

In relation to poverty, Chile is a paradox. It has made extraordinary progress in terms of economic growth, overall development, and poverty reduction. But at the same time, troubling rates of poverty and extreme poverty persist, and inequality levels are extremely high. They are neither sustainable nor acceptable in a society that prides itself upon a strong and deep commitment to respecting human rights for all of its peoples. My task as Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is to identify issues and areas in relation to which I believe Chile could do more and better in order to eliminate extreme poverty.

But the ‘bad’ news must not be permitted to overshadow the good news. Since the end of the dictatorship, and especially under the three most recent administrations, Chile has taken giant steps forward in relation to social as well as economic development. It has turned itself from a widely condemned authoritarian state during most of the 1970’s and all of the 1980s into a much-admired model for other states in terms of its economic growth, the rejuvenation and consolidation of its democracy, and the concerted efforts it has made in relation to human rights. And the breadth and depth of the agenda of the Government of President Bachelet for enhancing respect for human rights across the whole society is as impressive as it is daunting.

Read the rest of the statement here.

Read the OHCHR press release here.