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UN expert on foreign debt to visit China to promote human rights in international lending

GENEVA / BEIJING (26 June 2015) – The United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, will visit China from 29 June to 6 July 2015 to assess how its international lending contributes to the realization of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights in borrowing countries.

“I am visiting China to learn more about the efforts made by the Government and Chinese financial institutions to avoid negative human rights impacts in their international lending, including guidelines that have been developed to ensure respect for human rights, social and environmental standards,” Mr. Bohoslavsky said.

In recent years, China has become one of the major international lenders financing development and infrastructure projects worldwide, and promoting the right to development. It has also become a key player in establishing new multi-lateral development banks, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

China’s own debt sustainability policies and its policies to address international problems relating to foreign debt and illicit financial flows will also be on the International Expert’s human rights agenda.

Mr. Bohoslavsky, who visits the country at the invitation of the Chinese authorities, is expected to meet with senior Government officials and representatives from ministries, State institutions and development banks. His agenda will include the State Council Information Office, the China Banking Regulation Commission, the People’s Bank of China, the EXIM Bank China, the China Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Meetings with academic experts, representatives of international organizations, business associations and civil society organizations will complete his programme.

During his eight-day mission, the Special Rapporteur will visit Beijing and Shanghai, China’s mayor financial centre.

The Independent Expert will hold a press conference to share the preliminary findings of his visit on Monday 6 July 2015 at 14:30, at UN House, UNDP China, No.2 LiangMaHe NanLu,100600, Beijing, China.  Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

His final findings and key recommendations will be presented in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council next year.

Mr. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky (Argentina) was appointed as Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and human rights by the UN Human Rights Council on 8 May 2014.  Before, he worked as a Sovereign Debt Expert for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) where he coordinated an Expert Group on Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/IEDebt/Pages/IEDebtIndex.aspx

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/IEDebt/Pages/GuidingPrinciples.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – China: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/CNIndex.aspx

For more information, please contact:
Gunnar Theissen (+41 22 917 9321, during the visit: +41 79 752 0483 / gtheissen@ohchr.org) or write to ieforeigndebt@ohchr.org.

For media request during the visit please contact Ms. Xi Li (+86 10 85320800 / xi.li@undp.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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