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Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Purpose of the mandate

For those living in extreme poverty, many human rights are out of reach. This mandate was created to:

  • Give greater prominence to the plight of those living in extreme poverty
  • Highlight the human rights consequences of the systematic neglect to which they are subjected.

Learn more about why extreme poverty is an urgent human rights issue.

About the mandate

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights first established the mandate on extreme poverty in 1998. It was taken over by the Human Rights Council, which replaced the Commission, in June 2006. Through its resolutions 8/11 and 53/10, the Human Rights Council requests the Special Rapporteur to examine and report back to member States on initiatives taken to promote and protect the rights of those living in extreme poverty, with a view to advancing the eradication of such poverty.

Learn more about the mandate

Current mandate holder

Professor Olivier De Schutter

Professor Olivier De Schutter (Belgium) was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights by the Human Rights Council at its 43rd session, in March 2020. A Professor of Law at UCLouvain and at SciencesPo (Paris), Mr. De Schutter was the Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014, and a member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights between 2015 and 2020. Prior to those appointments, he was Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Read Professor De Schutter’s full biography and CV

Key documents

The Guiding Principles on extreme poverty and human rights

The Human Rights Council adopted the Guiding Principles at its 21st session in September 2012. These were the first global policy guidelines focusing specifically on the human rights of people living in poverty. They are intended as a practical tool for policy-makers to ensure that public policies and poverty eradication efforts reach the poorest members of society, respect and uphold their rights, and take into account the social, cultural, economic and structural obstacles to human rights enjoyment faced by persons living in poverty.

Contact Information

Mr. Olivier De Schutter
Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

[email protected]

Twitter account: @srpoverty

Previous mandate holders

Mr. Philip Alston (Australia),
June 2014 - April 2020

Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona (Chile),
May 2008 - June 2014

Mr. Arjun Sengupta (India),
August 2004 - April 2008

Ms. A. M. Lizin (Belgium),
April 1998 - July 2004


May 2022 Olivier De Schutter visited Kyrgyzstan from 23 May to 3 June 2022 to examine the Government’s efforts to eradicate poverty. All documents related to this visit can be found on the country visits webpage.

May 2022 Replies were received by Indonesia, Accor, Vinci Constructions and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to the Special Rapporteur’s communication of 8 March 2022.

11 May 2022 Press Release: Lebanon: UN expert warns of ‘failing State’ amid widespread poverty.

11 May 2022 Op-ed: A message to Lebanon’s next government: recover stolen wealth, build accountability.

See all


21 December 2021
“Speaking of poverty, differently” (Narrated by the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter)
Watch on YouTube