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Call for submissions on Malaysia 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 Malaysia from 12 to 22 August 2019 at the invitation of the government. His visit will focus on the links between poverty and the realization of human rights in Malaysia.

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, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mauritania, Romania, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.

Call for submissions

The Special Rapporteur invites all interested individuals and organizations, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics, to provide input on the situation in Malaysia to assist him in preparing for the 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 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 Malaysia, 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, minorities, non-citizens, and people living in urban and rural areas.
  • 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.
  • The role of infrastructure and development projects; international financial institutions; the management of public finances; and multinational or domestic corporations in relation to poverty.
  • Regions, provinces, districts, or cities in Malaysia 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 srextremepoverty@ohchr.org by June 14, 2019. Kindly send your submission as an attachment to an email.

Please indicate in your submission whether we can publish all or part of it on the website of the Special Rapporteur. We will not publish any submissions without the explicit consent of the submitting individual and/or organisation and the issues raised will not be attributed to specific individuals or organizations.

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 August 22 and a final report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 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 Malaysia 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 August 2019.

On 22 August, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference in Kuala Lumpur 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 Eleanor Robb (erobb@ohchr.org) and Rebecca Riddell (rebecca.riddell@nyu.edu).

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

For more information, please contact: Eleanor Robb (erobb@ohchr.org), or write to srextremepoverty@ohchr.org.