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Greece: UN expert to assess impact of financial crisis and structural adjustment

Greek version

GENEVA (26 November 2015) – United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky will undertake his first official visit to Greece from 30 November to 8 December 2015 to assess the impact of the financial crisis and economic adjustment programmes on the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights.

Mr. Bohoslavsky will also visit Greece to follow up on the recommendations* made by his predecessor, Cephas Lumina, after an earlier mission to the highly indebted country in April 2013.

“Greece has been required to undertake severe cut-backs in public spending and implement a list of economic and social reforms in order to receive further credit,” he noted. “I will assess what impacts these cut-backs and reforms have had on the right to health care, housing, education, and social security.”

One issue of particular concern is the growth of poverty and inequality within the country as a consequence of the financial and economic crisis. In that regard, the expert will pay special attention to the policies and strategies adopted by government and its international lenders to fight these trends under the third bail-out programme.

“I would like to learn, in particular, which measures have been adopted by Greece and its international lenders to protect individuals and groups in situation of vulnerability, such as refugees, migrants, minorities, highly indebted persons, persons with disabilities, children, the elderly and women,” he said.

Efforts undertaken to reduce illicit financial flows and tax evasion and their human rights implications, will as well be on the agenda of the Independent Expert.

Mr. Bohoslavsky, who visits the country at the invitation of the Greek authorities, will meet with senior Government officials, including representatives of various Ministries, members of Parliament, and other public institutions. He will also hold meetings with representatives of international organizations, national human rights bodies, civil society, academics, and persons affected by the economic crisis.

The Independent Expert will hold a press conference for media representatives to share the preliminary findings of his visit on 8 December at 10:00 AM at Electra Palace Hotel, 18-20, N. Nikodimou str. 10557, Athens. 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 in March 2016.

(*) Check the latest report on Greece (A/HRC/25/50/Add.1): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/IEDebt/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx

Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky (Argentina) was appointed as Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and human rights by the United Nations 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. His mandate covers all countries and has most recently been renewed by Human Rights Council resolution 25/16. 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

The Special Rapporteurs 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. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Greece: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx

For more information please contact:
Gunnar Theissen (+41 22 917 9321 / gtheissen@ohchr.org) or write to ieforeigndebt@ohchr.org
For media requests please contact Dimitrios Fatouros (+32 2 788 84 68 / fatouros@unric.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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