Extreme Poverty and Human Rights - a Mission Report on the United States
51 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2007
Date Written: January 6, 2007
As the Independent Expert on the question of Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, for the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, I visited the United States of America from 24th October to 4th November 2005 and held meetings with people living in poverty, civil society organizations working for and with people living in poverty, as well as government officials in New York City; Immokalee in Florida; New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Louisiana; Jackson and the Delta region in Mississippi; Appalachia in Kentucky; and Washington, D.C. On the basis of these discussions and the materials submitted to me by all the participants and many studies on the subject of poverty in the U.S., I submitted a report to the Human Rights Commission on 17th March, 2006. After that, I was invited to the National Truth Commission, organised by Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, where a large number of activist organizations from different parts of the United States, presented the current status of living conditions and the nature of abject poverty of the various sections of the poor, living in America. Later another group, actively engaged in research on poverty in the U.S. met me in New York. All this enables me to update my earlier report, which was considered at a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 27th and attended by all governments, a large number of NGO's and many international institutions, who participated vigorously in the discussion, calling for follow-up actions.
As the international human rights community is increasingly engaged in discussions on issues of extreme poverty, centering around poverty in the US, it may be useful to put the arguments I raised in my earlier reports, up for wider consideration.
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