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UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, to Visit Mauritania in May

First official visit to Mauritania by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

GENEVA (27 April 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will undertake his first official visit to Mauritania from 2 to 11 May 2016. The human rights expert will assess the efforts of the Mauritanian Government to eradicate poverty and how such efforts are anchored in its international human rights obligations.637097

“Poverty goes beyond a simple lack of income. Poverty is a phenomenon that has many dimensions, which include the lack of access to food, to water and sanitation, to education, to health care and other basic services,” the expert said.

“Poverty is also about social exclusion and is often closely related to discrimination. Respect for human rights in general is therefore crucial in the fight against poverty and I will look into all these aspects during my visit,” he added.

In this regard, the ongoing elaboration of the national development strategy for the next 15 years, the Stratégie de croissance accélérée et de prospérité partagée (SCAPP), is a unique opportunity for the government to address in a compehrensive manner poverty’s underlying causes, such as discrimination and social exclusion.

“We cannot eradicate poverty without taking seriously the human rights of all the people living in Mauritania,” Mr. Alston said. “And to achieve this, the respect for the country’s human rights obligations must take place at all levels, including at the local level,” the expert stressed.

“I am grateful to the Government of Mauritania for the opportunity to visit and to meet with a broad cross-section of society,” Mr. Alston added. The Special Rapporteur will meet and engage with the central government and with local governments, non-governmental organizations, representatives of international organizations, and people living in extreme poverty. He will visit Nouakchott and spend several days in different regions of the country.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference to be held at the end of his mission. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. The Special Rapporteur’s report will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in June 2017.

Philip Alston took up his functions as the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in June 2014. 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 independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council 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.

Learn more, log on to:

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Mauritania

For more information and media requests, please contact Junko Tadaki (Phone: +222 26 31 10 28 / + 41 79 444 5401 / ) or write to

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 /

See more here.


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