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First visit to Timor-Leste by UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

11 November 2011

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda, will conduct an official mission to Timor-Leste from 13 to 18 November 2011 to collect first-hand information on the situation of people living in extreme poverty and to understand the initiatives taken by the authorities to improve their situation.

Despite receiving substantial international development assistance over the past decade, Timor-Leste remains one of the poorest countries in the world. “After years of struggle for independence, the persistence of extreme poverty is among the critical challenges for Timor-Leste today,” said Ms. Sepúlveda. It is crucial to assess to what extent development efforts and Government policies are effective in improving the situation of those who are most in need, such as women, children, persons with disabilities and other groups that are vulnerable to discrimination and social exclusion,” the Special Rapporteur urged.

The Special Rapporteur will devote specific attention to social protection efforts, such as cash transfers to those living in poverty. “Social protection policies are of great importance to lift people out of poverty and human rights norms and standards require official support to these initiatives”.

The Special Rapporteur will hold meetings with senior Government officials, including representatives from various ministries working on social policies. She will meet also with representatives of the United Nations system, the donor community and non-governmental organizations. During her mission, Ms. Sepúlveda will visit communities living in poverty in Dili as well as in rural areas in other districts. Her findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council in 2012.

The Special Rapporteur will present her preliminary observations on the mission at a press conference at 11:30am on 18 November 2011 at the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) compound in Dili.

ENDS

Magdalena Sepúlveda was appointed the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. She is independent from any government or organization.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/SRExtremePovertyIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Timor-Leste: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/TPIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact:
- Geneva: Lidia Rabinovich (Tel: +41 22 917 97 63 / email: srextremepoverty@ohchr.org)

- Dili: Yoonie Kim (Tel: +670 7327107 / email: ykim@ohchr.org) or Anjet Lanting (Tel: +670 7230714 / email: lanting@un.org)

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