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Call for submissions on the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 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 the Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 18 to 28 March 2019 at the invitation of the government. His visit will focus on the links between poverty and the realization of human rights in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

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, Romania, Mauritania, China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Ghana, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Call for submissions

The Special Rapporteur invites all interested individuals and organizations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics, to provide input for the preparation of his visit.

Respondents are requested to limit their comments to a maximum of 1,500 words. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other types of background materials may be annexed to the submission.

While all submissions are welcome and the questions below are not meant to be exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for comments that address topics such as:

  • The nature of poverty and inequality in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, including how poverty is or should be defined, its prevalence, and its distribution.
  • The major challenges confronting those living in poverty.
  • People disproportionately impacted by poverty, including women, children, minorities, and people living in rural areas.
  • The most severe human rights-related problems that people living in poverty experience.
  • The impact of poverty on civil and political rights, as well as on economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to health and the right to social security.
  • The impact of environmental issues and climate change on people living in poverty.
  • The role of infrastructure and development projects; international financial institutions and bilateral lending; and multinational or domestic corporations in relation to poverty.
  • Regions, provinces, districts, or cities in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic the Special Rapporteur should visit because of specific problems relating to poverty and human rights.
  • Individuals and organizations the Special Rapporteur should meet with during his country visit.

Submissions can be sent to srextremepoverty@ohchr.org by February 4, 2019. Kindly send your submission as an attachment to an email.

By default, all submissions will be treated as confidential and the issues raised will not be attributed to specific individuals or organizations. However, if instead you would like your submission to be published on the website of the Special Rapporteur, please explicitly indicate consent to publication in the submission.

The Special Rapporteur will accept submissions via encrypted email at bassam.khawaja@nyu.edu 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 help@accessnow.org

The Special Rapporteur’s visit will lead to a detailed end of mission statement on March 28 and a formal report which he will present to the UN Human Rights Council.

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

 Media inquiries

Regular updates on the visit to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 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 March 2019.

On the last day of his visit in March, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference in Vientiane 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 the Special Rapporteur will be visiting, 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 Patricia Varela (pvarela@ohchr.org), Maria Andrea Echazú (ma-echazu@ohchr.org), and Bassam Khawaja (bassam.khawaja@nyu.edu).

Twitter:  @Alston_UNSR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlstonUNSR

For more information, please contact: Patricia Varela (pvarela@ohchr.org) or Maria Andrea Echazú (ma-echazu@ohchr.org), or write to srextremepoverty@ohchr.org.

Submissions received

Civil Society Organisations

Academics