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Extreme poverty: first UN Independent Expert to visit Vietnam in 12 years

GENEVA (16 April 2010) – The UN Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, will visit Vietnam from 20-29 April to collect first-hand information on the situation of people living in extreme poverty and on efforts undertaken by the Vietnamese Government to improve their situation.

“Missions like this one are a very important opportunity for countries to review progress made in the promotion of human rights and renew their commitments,” said Ms Sepúlveda, who is the first UN Human Rights Council independent expert to visit Vietnam in over 12 years.

“Vietnam has been praised for its economic development in recent years, but poverty persists,” noted the human rights expert, who will visit the country at the invitation of the Government. “Social protection policies are of great importance to lift people out of poverty and human rights standards require official support to these initiatives.”

The Independent Expert will hold meetings with senior Government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and representatives from various ministries working on social policies. She will also meet UN representatives, the donor community and non-governmental organizations. During her mission, Ms Sepúlveda will visit communities living in poverty in Hanoi, and in the provinces of Kon Tum and Bac Can.

Based on the information collected during the visit, Ms Sepúlveda will prepare a report and make recommendations on strengthening social protection in Vietnam using a human rights perspective. This report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2011.

A press conference will be held on Thursday 29 April 2010 at 11.30 at the UNDP office in Hanoi.

Magdalena Sepúlveda is the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty since May 2008. She is a Chilean lawyer currently working as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva.