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Call for input – Visit to the United States (4-15 December 2017)

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The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, will be undertaking an official visit to the United States from 4 to 15 December 2017 at the invitation of the US Government. His visit will focus, in accordance with his mandate, on the interlinkages between poverty and the realization of human rights.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and he will report on his visit to the Council in the first half of 2018. UN independent experts visit countries around the world to report on their human rights situation. In recent years, the Special Rapporteur has undertaken country visits to Chile, Romania, Mauritania, China and Saudi Arabia.

The Special Rapporteur would like to invite all interested parties in the United States, including, but not limited to, NGOs, activists, academics and other individuals and organizations working on issues related to poverty and human rights, to provide input for the preparation of his visit to the United States in December 2017.

Input can be sent to srextremepoverty@ohchr.org until October 4, 2017. Please note that the Special Rapporteur will also receive input via browser-based encrypted email service. Please contact us via the email above if you wish to further communicate via encrypted email.

Respondents are requested to limit their response to a maximum of 3,000 words. All input will be treated confidentially by the Special Rapporteur and his team and for the sole purpose of preparing the country visit.

Respondents are asked to focus their input on the following issues:

(i) What is the definition of poverty and extreme poverty that your organization employs in the context of the United States and to what extent do official definitions at the federal and state level adequately encompass poverty in all its dimensions?

(ii) What are the most severe human rights violations that people living in poverty and extreme poverty in the United States experience? Please exemplify by referring to specific cases and relevant norms of international human rights law.

(iii) Could you specify how poverty and extreme poverty in the United States intersect with civil and political rights (such as for example the right to political participation or the right to equality before the law)? Please exemplify by referring to specific cases and relevant norms of international human rights law.

(iv) Could you specify how poverty and extreme poverty in the United States intersect with economic and social rights (such as the right to education or the right to work)? Please exemplify by referring to specific cases and relevant norms of international human rights law.

(v) How does the fact that the United States has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), affect domestic advocacy and litigation on behalf of the poor related to the rights protected in these international treaties?

(vi) In 2015 the Special Rapporteur presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council on economic inequality and human rights, which can be found here. Please point to interlinkages between poverty, inequality and human rights in the United States.

(vii) There is an increasing debate worldwide on the impact of new technologies on societies, including in the area of Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Big Data and algorithmic decision-making. How do these developments affect the human rights of those living in poverty in the United States? The Special Rapporteur is interested in learning how these technologies may affect civil and political rights as well as economic and social rights.

(viii) What are potential areas (States, territories, regions, cities, municipalities) in the United States that the Special Rapporteur should visit given the severity of poverty and intersecting human rights issues in these places?

(ix) Which individuals and organizations should the Special Rapporteur meet with during his country visit to the United States?

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