First official visit to Mauritania by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

By Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will undertake his first official visit to Mauritania from 2 to 11 May 2016. The human rights expert will assess the efforts of the Mauritanian Government to eradicate poverty and how such efforts are anchored in its international human rights obligations.

“Poverty goes beyond a simple lack of income. Poverty is a phenomenon that has many dimensions, which include the lack of access to food, to water and sanitation, to education, to health care and other basic services,” the expert said. “Poverty is also about social exclusion and is often closely related to discrimination. Respect for human rights in general is therefore crucial in the fight against poverty and I will look into all these aspects during my visit,” he added. In this regard, the ongoing elaboration of the national development strategy for the next 15 years, the Stratégie de croissance accélérée et de prospérité partagée (SCAPP), is a unique opportunity for the government to address in a compehrensive manner poverty's underlying causes, such as discrimination and social exclusion. “We cannot eradicate poverty without taking seriously the human rights of all the people living in Mauritania,” Mr. Alston said. “And to achieve this, the respect for the country's human rights obligations must take place at all levels, including at the local level,” the expert stressed. “I am grateful to the Government of Mauritania for the opportunity to visit and to meet with a broad cross-section of society,” Mr. Alston added. The Special Rapporteur will meet and engage with the central government and with local governments, non-governmental organizations, representatives of international organizations, and people living in extreme poverty. He will visit Nouakchott and spend several days in different regions of the country. The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference to be held at the end of his mission. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. The Special Rapporteur's report will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in June 2017.