A group of independent United Nations human rights experts today underscored the importance of achieving the globally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while calling for the full and effective realization of all human rights.

The Goals, which include range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, were agreed upon by world leaders 10 years ago.

Nearly 140 heads of State and government, as well as dozens of representatives from civil society groups, foundations and the private sector, will convene at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday to begin a three-day summit during which they will discuss the progress made so far and how to advance the ambitious targets.

“While fully supporting the efforts of Member States to realize the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, we would like to emphasize that their realization should be an important step on the longer, and continuous, road towards the full and effective realization of all human rights for all,” the chairpersons of the UN human rights treaty bodies said in a joint statement.

The group drew special attention to the fact that some of the Goals, such as primary education for all or gender parity, fully meet international human rights treaty obligations.

However, they stressed that realization of other Goals “would still fall short of what human rights treaties require, as treaties call for the realization of human rights for all, which goes beyond the reaching of quantified targets.”

Faster progress towards achieving the MDGs, they said, can be accomplished by “adhering to international human rights standards, including to the principles of non-discrimination, meaningful participation and accountability.”

The group called on world leaders attending next week's summit to be guided by human rights in finalizing their outcome document and in establishing national action plans.

“Realizing the Millennium Development Goals is but a first step in meeting their broader human rights treaty obligations,” they stated.

The treaty bodies are set up to oversee the implementation of the core human rights treaties at the national level.

The chairpersons joining their names to today's statement head committees dealing with human rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; discrimination against women; torture; child rights; migrants and persons with disabilities.