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Visit to Namibia by UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

GENEVA (27 September 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Magdalena Sepúlveda will conduct an official visit to Namibia from 1 to 8 October 2012 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 and fulfil their human rights.

“Although classified as a lower middle income country, Namibia has one of the most unequal distributions of income and wealth in the world, and therefore poverty and inequality are significant concerns,” Ms. Sepúlveda said, launching the first visit to the country by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to evaluate human rights and extreme poverty, and report on initiatives to promote and protect the rights of those living in extreme poverty.

The Special Rapporteur will devote specific attention to social protection efforts, and Government programmes to address the high levels of unemployment in the country.

“I will also examine the main obstacles impeding access to public services including health and education services and justice mechanisms for people living in poverty and social exclusion,” Ms. Sepúlveda said.

During her visit, the Special Rapporteur will visit communities living in poverty in Windhoek as well as in rural areas in other districts. Ms. Sepúlveda will hold meetings with senior Government officials, including representatives from various ministries working on social policy. She will also meet with representatives of the UN system, the donor community, non-governmental organizations and communities living in poverty. Her findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

The Special Rapporteur will share her preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference at 11:30 on 8 October 2012 in Windhoek, at the UN House,18 Stein Street, the Multi-Purpose Room, 2nd Floor.

Magdalena Sepúlveda (Chile) was appointed the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. She has extensive experience in economic, social and cultural rights and holds a PhD in international human rights law from Utrecht University. She is independent from any government or organization. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/SRExtremePovertyIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Namibia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/TPIndex.aspx http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/NAIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact:
- Geneva: Lidia Rabinovich (+41 22 917 97 63 / srextremepoverty@ohchr.org)
- Windhoek: Anthea Basson, National Information Officer, UNIC Windhoek, (+264 61 204 6408/ +264 81 246 3772 / anthea.basson@unic.org) or Lidia Rabinovich or (+41 79 201 0122 / lrabinovich@ohchr.org)

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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