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UN expert to explore foreign debt-human rights link in the Solomon Islands

GENEVA (10 February 2011) – UN Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights, Cephas Lumina, will visit the Solomon Islands from 14 to 18 February 2011 to assess the impact of the country’s debt burden on the realisation of human rights and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is the first visit ever to the country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Following my current visit to neighbouring Australia, where I’m focusing on Australia’s aid programme and the human rights implications of its aid and trade negotiations,” said Mr. Lumina stressing the importance of the mission in the regional context, “this second leg of my regional visit to the Solomon Islands will naturally look at the other side of the coin - the effectiveness of foreign aid in ensuring the realisation of human rights and linkages between terms of trade and the country’s debt burden.”

Given the precarious state of international trade, the Independent Expert is scheduled to also assess the impact of the global financial crisis on the country’s debt burden, human rights and MDGs. During the visit, the Independent Expert will meet with Government officials from various ministries and agencies, as well as civil society representatives.

A press conference on the preliminary conclusions of the visit will be held on Friday, 18 February at 10 a.m. at the United Nations Development Programme, the City Centre Building, Mendana Avenue, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Mr. Lumina was appointed ‘Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights’ by the Human Rights Council in 2008. He is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. The mandate of the Independent Expert covers all countries.

Learn more about the mandate of the Independent Expert, please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/development/debt/index.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Solomon Islands: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/SBIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Brenda Vukovic (Tel: + 41 797520484 / e-mail: ieforeigndebt@ohchr.org), or Stella Delaiverata-Tuhaika (Tel: +677 22747 / email: stella.delaiverata@undp.org).