Call for submissions on Spain in advance of country visit

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will conduct an official country visit to Spain from 27 January to 7 February 2020 at the invitation of the government. His visit will focus on the links between poverty and the realization of human rights in Spain.

The Special Rapporteur invites all interested individuals and organizations, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics, to provide input on the situation in Spain to assist him in preparing for the visit.

The Special Rapporteur

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. UN independent experts regularly undertake country visits to report on human rights issues. Country visits usually last about two weeks and include meetings between the Special Rapporteur and individuals affected by poverty, government officials, members of the legislature and judiciary, state institutions, civil society organizations, and academics. At the conclusion of such country visits, the Special Rapporteur presents a detailed statement of his initial findings. He subsequently submits a final report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, is a Professor of Law at New York University working in the field of international law and international human rights law. He has extensive experience as an independent UN human rights expert. Since 2014, when he was appointed Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, he has undertaken country visits to Chile, China, Ghana, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mauritania, Romania, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.

Call for submissions

Respondents are requested to limit their comments to a maximum of 2,000 words and to include citations in the submission where possible. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other background materials may be annexed to the submission.

While all submissions are welcome, and the questions below are by no means exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for comments that address topics such as:

  • The nature of poverty and inequality in Spain, including how poverty is or should be defined and measured, its prevalence, and its distribution.
  • The major challenges and human rights-related problems facing people living in poverty.
  • People disproportionately impacted by poverty, including women, children, young people, the unemployed, minorities, non-citizens, and people living in urban and rural areas.
  • The role of austerity measures, public finance management and taxation policy in relation to poverty.
  • The impact of poverty on civil and political rights, as well as on economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to health, housing, food, education and social security.
  • The impact of environmental issues and climate change on people living in poverty.
  • Autonomous communities, provinces, municipalities, or communities in Spain that the Special Rapporteur should visit because of their particular relevance to poverty and human rights.
  • Individuals and organizations with whom the Special Rapporteur should meet during his country visit.

Submissions can be sent to by November 1, 2019. Kindly send your submission as an attachment to an email. Where possible, submissions in English are encouraged, as capacity for translation is limited and this would significantly facilitate review by the Special Rapporteur and his staff.

We will not publish any submissions without the explicit consent of the submitting individual and/or organisation. Please indicate in your submission whether we may publish all or part of it on the website of the Special Rapporteur. 

The Special Rapporteur will accept submissions via encrypted email at with this public key. If you have concerns about digital security, you may wish to contact an organization working on these issues. The organization Access Now has a free digital security helpline to help keep individuals and organizations safe online. Inquiries can be sent to

The Special Rapporteur's visit will lead to a detailed end of mission statement on 7 February 2020 and a final report to the UN Human Rights Council in July 2020.

The Special Rapporteur greatly appreciates the effort that goes into making such contributions and looks forward to reading all submissions.

Media inquiries

Regular updates on the visit to Spain will be posted on the website of the Special Rapporteur and via his Twitter and Facebook pages. A press release with additional information about the visit will be issued in January 2020.

On 7 February 2020, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference in Madrid where he will present a statement with his initial findings. Before and during the visit, the Special Rapporteur's engagement with media will be limited to commenting on the scope of the visit, areas to be visited, and other logistical aspects. Only at the press conference and thereafter will the Special Rapporteur be in a position to comment on his findings and conclusions.

Media inquiries, including requests to join the Special Rapporteur's press list, may be directed to Junko Tadaki (; +41 22 917 9298) and Rebecca Riddell (; +1 512 663 6614).

Twitter: @Alston_UNSR

For more information, please contact: Junko Tadaki (, or write to