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UN rights expert to assess impact of EU/IMF stabilisation programme in Latvia

Latvian version

GENEVA (10 May 2012) – United Nations Independent Expert, Cephas Lumina, will visit Latvia from 14 to 18 May 2012 to assess the impact of its foreign debt burden and the global economic slowdown on the realization of human rights and the right to development, as well as the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals in the country.

“I will evaluate the impact of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund stabilisation programme on the enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights; and the potential impact of further possible austerity measures on the country’s ability to ensure the enjoyment of these rights,” said Mr. Lumina announcing the first fact-finding mission to the country by an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the effects of foreign debt on human rights.

“I will also explore the policy measures adopted to stabilise Latvia’s economy in the midst of the financial crisis and to fulfil its international financial obligations,” he said acknowledging regional financial difficulties but stressing “the need to strike a careful balance between austerity and the realization of human rights, given the primacy of States’ human rights obligations.”

Mr. Lumina will meet with Government officials and with international and regional organizations, including financial institutions. He will also have consultations with civil society representatives and academics.

A press conference on the preliminary conclusions of the visit will be held on Friday, 18 May at 10 a.m. at the Latvian Office of the Ombudsman, at Baznicas iela 25, 4th floor.

The Independent Expert will present the visit’s findings in a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Mr. Cephas Lumina is an Advocate of the High Court for Zambia and an Extra-Ordinary Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria. He 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 United Nations Human Rights Council in 2008. He is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. The mandate covers all countries. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/IEDebt/Pages/IEDebtIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Latvia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva (before the visit): Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / +41 79 752 0484 / bvukovic@ohchr.org) or write to ieforeigndebt@ohchr.org.
In Riga (during the visit): Ms. Ruta Silina, Head of Communication and international cooperation division, Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia (+371 67201416 / ruta.silina@tiesibsargs.lv)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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