UN human rights expert to visit Lebanon to assess poverty

GENEVA (27 October 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, will undertake a human rights fact-finding mission to Lebanon from 1 to 12 November 2021 to examine the Government’s efforts to alleviate poverty in the country.

“Lebanon is going through one of the worst economic crises in world history,” said De Schutter, an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report, and advise on poverty and its intersection with human rights.

“According to one estimate, in just two years, multidimensional poverty has doubled from 42% to 82%, with nearly four million people facing deprivation in education, healthcare, public utilities, housing, assets, or employment and income,” he said.

“Poverty is intertwined with the compounding monetary, debt, energy, and political crises Lebanon is facing, and I will be looking closely at how the Government is addressing the impact on people’s lives.”

De Schutter said he plans to examine how the Lebanese government is tracking poverty, and the adequacy of the social protection system, as well as the role of international donors and organizations.

This is only the second visit by a Special Rapporteur to Lebanon in the past decade and it represents an important step in the Government’s engagement with the UN human rights system.

The UN poverty expert will travel to Beirut, Tripoli, rural communities in Akkar, and the Bekaa Valley. He will meet government officials at the national and local levels and individuals and communities affected by poverty, as well as international organizations, activists, academics, donors, and civil society organizations. He has published a preliminary schedule of his visit, including information on events open to press.

The visit of the Special Rapporteur is grounded in extensive input and research in advance of the mission, including a review of publicly available information, more than 30 advance consultations, and some 20 written submissions from people affected by poverty, civil society, international organizations, and others.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions and recommendations at a press conference at the end of his mission on 12 November 2021 at 11:30 am local time. The press conference will be held in person and livestreamed. Details will be sent in advance to journalists and available on the Special Rapporteur’s website.

His final report on Lebanon will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2022.

Mr. Olivier De Schutter was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights by the UN Human Rights Council on 1st May 2020. The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

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