Press releases Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty calls for the creation of a global fund for social protection during interactive dialogue with the Human Rights Council
30 June 2021
Council Starts Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
30 June 2021
The Human Rights Council this afternoon held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and started an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said a Global Fund for Social Protection should be set up to increase the level of support to low-income countries, thus helping them to both establish and maintain social protection floors in the form of legal entitlements, and to improve the resilience of social protection systems against shocks. Such a Fund was affordable. He also spoke on his visit to the European Union.
European Union spoke as a country concerned.
In the ensuing dialogue, speakers expressed concern that nearly 700 million people in the world were living in extreme poverty, and that COVID-19 may drag over 100 million people into poverty. Some nations suffered disproportionately from the poverty effects of the pandemic due to multiple challenges they were facing. Some speakers said that the COVID-19 pandemic had only exacerbated what already existed before: extreme inequality had its origins in the global order imposed by powerful countries for their own benefit.
Speaking were Egypt on behalf of the Group of Arab States, Peru on behalf of a group of countries, China on behalf of a group of countries, United Nations Children's Fund, Paraguay, France, Sovereign Order of Malta, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Ecuador, Cuba, Senegal, Iraq, Armenia, Togo, Burkina Faso, China, India, Morocco, Algeria, Venezuela, Egypt, Kenya, Nepal, Botswana, Namibia, Malaysia, Sudan, Pakistan, Belgium, Nigeria, Timor-Leste, Mali, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Philippines, Viet Nam, Yemen, Panama, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Albania, Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bolivia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Bahamas, Iran, and South Sudan.
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Consortium for Street Children, VIVAT International, FIAN International e.V., Instituto Brasileiro de Analises Sociais e Economicas, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, Rahbord Peimayesh Research & Educational Services Cooperative, Lutheran World Federation, Sikh Human Rights Group, and Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland.
The Council then began an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, presenting two reports by his predecessor, said that the first report was an overview of the work conducted during the tenure of the former Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard, in which she recommended that the title of the mandate be renamed as Special Rapporteur “on arbitrary deprivation of life” or, alternatively, “on unlawful killings and unlawful deaths” or “on the right to life”. He also spoke about Ms. Callamard’s visit to Nigeria.
Nigeria spoke as a concerned country.
Speakers noted that the reports demonstrated a grim reality of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that continued to be committed by both State and non-State actors. Some speakers thanked the Special Rapporteur’s predecessor, especially for her report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the gender-sensitive approach she incorporated in her work. Other speakers said that the former Special Rapporteur went beyond her mandate and politicised her work, hoping the new Special Rapporteur would remain impartial. What was the view of the Special Rapporteur on renaming the mandate to “on the right to life”?
Speaking were the European Union, Sweden on behalf of a group of countries, China on behalf of a group of countries, Liechtenstein, Sierra Leone, Libya, France, Indonesia, Switzerland, Cuba, Fiji, Iraq, Armenia, Syria, Chile, and China.
Indonesia and Brazil spoke in right of reply.
The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s forty-seventh regular session can be found here.
The Council will next meet on Thursday, 1 July at 10 a.m. to continue the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, followed by an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights
The Council has before it the reports of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (A/HRC/47/36) on the Global fund for social protection: international solidarity in the service of poverty eradication, and (A/HRC/47/36/Add.1) on his mission to the European Union, as well as comments by the State (A/HRC/47/36/Add.2)
Presentation of the Reports
OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures adopted to protect populations, an estimated 115 million additional people may have fallen into extreme poverty in 2020, and 35 million more may follow this year. The COVID-19 pandemic had caught the world unprepared: 61 per cent of the global workforce was still made up of informal workers or workers in precarious forms of employment, with little or no access to social protection; 55 per cent of the world's population, 4 billion people, had no social protection whatsoever; and an additional 26 per cent were covered only against some forms of economic insecurity. A Global Fund for Social Protection should be set up to increase the level of support to low-income countries, thus helping them both to establish and maintain social protection floors in the form of legal entitlements, and to improve the resilience of social protection systems against shocks. Such a Fund was affordable.
The International Labour Organization estimated that the funding shortfall for low-income countries, representing 711 million people, was $ 79 billion per year, including $ 41 billion for health care. While this represented 15.9 per cent of the gross domestic product of low-income countries - an altogether unaffordable amount for these countries - it was half the total level of official development assistance provided by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in 2020. The international community could and must do better. While international support was crucial, it should not be seen as a substitute for the mobilisation of domestic resources to finance social protection floors, but rather as an incentive to encourage recipient countries to build capacity and to invest more in this area. International support therefore should be seen as launching a process that would allow recipient countries to gradually increase the levels of domestic resource mobilisation: it would ensure a predictable level of support to countries committed to establishing social protection floors. The Human Rights Council was now being given an opportunity to support what the Special Rapporteur saw as a major step towards the realisation of the right to social security as a human right.
On his visit to the European Union, he noted that while the bloc had launched a number of programmes to combat poverty, Member States still encountered a number of obstacles to effectively address poverty and inequalities, including unhealthy social and fiscal competition between countries and socio-economic governance frameworks that did not favour social investment. The economic recovery provided a unique opportunity to rethink these constraints.
Statement by Country Concerned
European Union, speaking as a country concerned, said its social policy was in full compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals and international human right frameworks. In the European Union, economic considerations and social rights were both components of a highly competitive and sustainable development. In international comparisons, the European Union as a whole ranked among the best performers in terms of equality of income and opportunities and social policies. While differences persisted among and within the Member States, upward social convergence towards the best performing countries – not only in the European Union, but at the global level too - had been steadily continuing before the current crisis. At the European Union level, poverty and exclusion were considered as multidimensional phenomena, as regards their components, their drivers and the policy measures to tackle them. The agreed definition related to people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, which was a much more ambitious concept than extreme poverty and demonstrated the determination of the European Union to strive for high standards of living for all.
Speakers were very concerned that nearly 700 million people in the world were living in extreme poverty, and that COVID-19 may drag over 100 million people into poverty. Some nations suffered disproportionately from the poverty effects of the pandemic due to multiple challenges they were facing. Speakers called on the international community to expand resources on combatting poverty. Other speakers noted that it was important to ensure that the proposed Global Fund was well integrated with the multitude of existing regional and international mechanisms working on this issue. Some speakers said that the COVID-19 pandemic had only exacerbated what already existed before: extreme inequality had its origins in the global order imposed by powerful countries for their own benefit. At the same time, these developed countries were also experiencing unprecedented income inequality at home, with millions sliding into poverty. Speakers hoped that the Special Rapporteur would pay particular attention to the situation in these countries.
OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the International Labour Organization had received a mandate from its constituent members to initiate proposals and launch discussions on such a fund. His mandate and the International Labour Organization would cooperate in that context. The International Labour Organization had the capacity to support a secretariat for the Fund. Rather than reinvent the wheel, all should strive to build on existing structures and achievements. The Fund would encourage States to invest their own resources in social protection; it would not replace such investments. In an interlinked, global world, all populations needed to benefit from social protection.
Speakers said foreign debt was an impediment to the provision of social protection in developing countries and encouraged Member States of the Council to support the creation of a Global Fund for Social Protection. Pointing out that gaps in social protection were mostly due to a lack of financial resources, speakers said if such a fund was to offer a meaningful, dignified and rights-based approach to helping countries scale up social protection, it should prioritise unconditional and universal support. Speakers urged the allocation of resources to non-governmental and community-based organizations to assist with implementation and monitoring. A wider recognition of women partaking in the non-monetised care economy was required as they desperately needed access to social security. Several speakers expressed their deep concern for the ongoing increase in extreme poverty, hunger and human suffering and the lack of basic protection of impoverished communities, especially in low-income countries. They pointed out that, meanwhile, global wealth continued to grow.
OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said social protection was not the end result of a development process but rather a precondition for sustainable growth. Countries facing conflict as a result of poverty showed that deprivation could beget violence. Rich countries would only deliver if civil society and labour unions maintained the pressure. The Special Rapporteur said he was nevertheless convinced that Governments would be responsive to his proposals, and concluded by saying he was looking forward to engaging with them.
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
The Council has before it the report of the former Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (A/HRC/47/33) on a reflection of her work over the past five years, and (A/HRC/47/33/Add.2) on her mission to Nigeria.
Presentation of the Reports
MORRIS TIDBALL-BINZ, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, stated that during the short time since his appointment last April, he had issued, alone or jointly with other Special Procedures, a total of 37 communications to States and non-State actors as well as 16 press statements, and had met with 18 Permanent Missions. The stark reality of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions continued to be brought to his mandate’s attention from around the globe and on a daily basis. From cowardly killings of humanitarian health workers and mine-clearance personnel; to massacres, including of children; from the pandemic proportion of gender-based murder, in particular femicides; to State-sponsored and often racist-driven killings of those labelled as “undesirables”; as well as the imposition of the death penalty in violation of international law.
The first report he was presenting was an overview of the work conducted during the tenure of the former Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard, in which she recommended that the title of the mandate be renamed as Special Rapporteur “on arbitrary deprivation of life” or, alternatively, “on unlawful killings and unlawful deaths” or “on the right to life”. In the second report on her visit to Nigeria from 19 August to 2 September 2019, she had specifically examined the situation of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and included a focus on Nigeria’s criminalisation of abortion.
Turning to his work so far, Mr. Tidball-Binz identified the following themes for engagement: deaths in custody, their documentation and prevention; femicide; the role of medico-legal and death-investigation systems in preventing unlawful killings; the protection and respect for the dead following unlawful killings; lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015 and from the COVID-19 pandemic; and the right to life in disaster prevention and response. In addition, the Special Rapporteur committed to continue monitoring the implementation of all standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment. He may also engage research into the growing view that the death penalty raised serious issues in relation to the dignity and rights of all human beings, including not only the right to life but also the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Statement by Country Concerned
Nigeria, speaking as a country concerned, thanked the former Special Rapporteur for her visit, adding that Nigeria had taken copious notes while reading the report, even though it disagreed with some of its conclusions. The Government had faced several security challenges in the past years, including Boko Haram and kidnappings, and had taken adequate measures to ensure security and uphold human rights in that context. Nigeria condemned all acts of extrajudicial or summary executions. It should be remembered that human rights violations were contributing factors to numerous conflicts around the world. Stressing that they were a reflection of broader problems related to criminal justice and law enforcement, Nigeria said it had improved its judicial framework to ensure accountability and provide reparation to victims while bringing an end to extrajudicial killings by investigating and prosecuting all allegations related to this practice. Nigeria remained strongly committed to human rights.
Speakers noted that the reports demonstrated a grim reality of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that continued to be committed by both State and non-State actors. They thanked the Special Rapporteur’s predecessor, especially for her report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the gender-sensitive approach she incorporated in her work. Other speakers said that the former Special Rapporteur went beyond her mandate and politicised her work, hoping the new Special Rapporteur would remain impartial. Summary killings had no place in the modern world. Wealthy nations had amassed COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines hoping to protect their citizens, but no one would be safe in an interconnected world of migration and international travel until everyone, including those in the global south, had access to these medicines. Was this state of affairs tantamount to an infringement on the right to life in the opinion of the Special Rapporteur? Speakers expressed their hope that the Special Rapporteur would continue to focus on the abolition of the death penalty. What was his view on renaming the mandate to Special Rapporteur on “the right to life”?
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