Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty
27 October- Ms. Sepúlveda was invited by the World Bank in Washington to give a presentation on " Human Rights and Social Protection: What does it mean for the Bank?" for World Bank staff working in social protection and other areas of human development (education, health) at the country level. She then held meetings with the World Bank’s social protection team.
26 October - The Independent Expert gave a lecture at Columbia University in New York on the challenges and impact of her mandate as Independent Expert, as well as her latest report to the General Assembly, in a lunchtime event organized by the Human Rights Institute of the Columbia Law School. For more information: http://www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/human_rights/events_cal
25 to 28 October - The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, was in New York and Washington. In New York, she met with, inter alia, DESA, UNICEF, UNDP and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović, head of the OHCHR’s New York office. She also met with representatives of civil society organisations such as Amnesty International, the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-NET), and ATD-Fourth World. On 28 October, Ms. Sepúlveda had a meeting with UN Under-Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women.
25 October -- The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty presented her report to the General Assembly. This report highlights the importance of social protection measures in facilitating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and provides recommendations on the core elements of a rights-based social protection system, including the meaningful integration of gender-related concerns. A/65/259 [F S A C R]
17-18 June - The independent expert participated to the Regional Consultation on the draft General Guidelines on Foreign Debt and Human Rights last 17-18 June in Santiago, Chile. The independent expert contributed to the discussions and presented her views on human rights obligations of States, including the obligation of international assistance and cooperation.
16 June – The independent expert contributed to the Statement of the Special Procedures mandate-holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Haiti.
04 June – The independent expert presented her annual report and the report on her mission to Zambia to the Human Rights Council. The annual report focused on old age poverty and social protection. The report on Zambia stressed the importance of increasing investment in social protection in the country. To read both reports, click here.
03 June- The independent expert participated in a side event co-hosted by HelpAge International, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN on older persons and human rights. Speakers at this event all emphasized the importance of social protection for the realization of the older persons human rights.
1 and 2 June - The Independent Expert co-hosted with Radhika Balakrishnane of the Center for Women's Global Leadership, an expert seminar on "Facilitating Gender Equality and Social Protection for the achievement of the MDGs". The meeting was attended by experts on gender and on social protection. This meeting was organised as a contribution the independent expert's work for her upcoming report to the General Assembly (October 2010), and as a contribution to the current debates ahead of the MDG Summit next September.
20-21 May - The independent expert convened an expert meeting on the draft guiding principles on human rights and extreme poverty. The meeting was supported by the Friedrich- Ebert- Stiftung and gathered around 25 experts working in the fields of development and human rights. A progress report on the draft guiding principles will be presented by the expert to the Human Rights Council in September.
24 March – The independent expert participated in a consultation on the draft guiding principles on human rights and extreme poverty with development practitioners at Brandeis University.
22 - 23 March - The independent expert participated in the International Symposum on MDGs and Human Rights organized at Harvard University by the Norwegian Human Rights Centre, OHCHR, UNICEF, the Institute Development Studies, Harvard Human Rights Programme and Leve ( Livelihoods in Development Countries). Sepulveda charied a session on Income Poverty from a Human Rights perspective. For more information about the symposium: click here www.jus.uio.no/smr/english/about/programmes/serp/conferences/MDG.html
12 March The independent expert participated in a parallel event to the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council entitled “Exposed – The human rights of the poor in a changing global climate”. At the event she spoke about the impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, especially of persons living in poverty and how human rights standards can inform global action on this matter.
18-19 February – The independent expert was in Paris on the invitation of the French Government to participate in the national launch of the European Year Against Poverty and Exclusion. The event was attended by Martin Hirsh, France's High Commissioner for Active Inclusion Against Poverty, several government institutions and non-governmental organisation engaged in fighting poverty in France. The expert also held several working meetings the ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of work and social affairs, the Ombudsman, Paris city administration, and non governmental organisations. In these meetings, she explained her work on the Drat Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and sought advice on how to advance the process of their adoption.
08-09 February – The independent expert convened an expert meeting on social protection for people at older ages on 8-9 February 2010 in Geneva. Twenty five experts from governments, NGOs, UN departments and agencies, and academic institutions from all regions attended the meeting and contributed to the expert’s evaluations on social pensions. For more information on the work on social pensions check here.
3 February 2010: the independent expert participated in the Briefing Series on Global Aging organised by UN Department on Economic and Social Affairs and the organisation AARP. She gave the key note speech of the session on "Empowerment in Aging: Human Rights of Older Persons". For more information: http://www.aarpinternational.org/conference/conference_show.htm?doc_id=1090685
18-19 January 2010: The Independent Expert participated in an NGO meeting to discuss the Draft Guiding Principles on human rights and extreme poverty in Geneva. The meeting was promoted by ATD 4th World and counted with the participation of NGOs working on development and human rights issues. The expert spoke about the importance of the Principles and the work she will undertake to further develop them.
11-13 January 2010: The Independent Expert participated in a three-day Colloquium on "Human Rights in the Global Economy". The Colloquium was convened by the International Council on Human Rights and Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative. The Colloquium gathered experts in human rights, public policy and economics and involved analysing human rights implications in relation to global macro-economic policy. For more information: http://www.ichrp.org/en/colloquium_human_rights_global_economy_2010.
18 December 2009 – The independent expert participated to the colloquium “Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right” promoted by UNESCO in Paris. The expert made a presentation on current strategies for the promotion of the rights of the poor through then UN human rights protection system.
3 – 10 December 2009 - The independent expert on human rights and extreme poverty and the independent expert on human rights, water and sanitation visited Bangladesh. They collected first hand information about on the relationship between access to safe drinking water, sanitation and extreme poverty. After concluding the visit they presented a press statement with preliminary remarks.
5-6 November 2009: The Independent Expert participated in a two-day workshop "A rights approach to social protection and poverty". The meeting was organised by ECLAC and GTZ in Santiago de Chile with experts from the UN, from governments and from academic institutions.
27 October 2009: The Independent Expert met with representatives from the Social Protection and Labour Unit and the Environment and International Law Unit of the World Bank in Washington. She also met with the Chief of Social Protection, Arup Banerji. The aim of the meetings was to discuss possible ways of collaboration between the mandate and the World Bank.
26 October 2009: The Independent Expert met with the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark in New York to discuss ways of collaboration between UNDP and the mandate. While in New York, the independent expert also held discussions with representatives from the UNDP Bureau of Development Policy, UNFPA, DESA and UNESCO.
23 October 2009: The Independent Expert attended a meeting for NGOs convened by ESCR-Net and Social Watch in New York to consult on the work of the mandate on the financial crisis. The meeting was attended by representatives from 15 international organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and four domestic US organizations such as Picture the Homeless and Loretto Community.
19-20 October: The Independent Expert participated in the Symposium on the Right to Social Security in Development, organised in Berlin by the Fredriech Ebert Stiftung and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. The meeting gathered experts in human rights and in development from academia, United Nations and government agencies. Ms Sepúlveda participated in opening panel discussion on the right to social security in the development discourse, where she spoke about her work on a human rights assessment of cash transfer programmes. For more information:
24 September 2009: The Independent Expert delivered the keynote speech at a consultation on the economic rights of the girl child. The event was hosted by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Plan Norway and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights in Oslo. The Independent Expert spoke on the right to social security of the girl child. For more information: http://www.jus.uio.no/smr/english/about/programmes/serp/projects/soc-security.html
17 September 2009: The Independent Expert, together with the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, participated in a side event of the Human Rights Council on human rights and the financial crisis. The panel was organised by the Centre for Economic and Social Rights.
4 September 2009 - The Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty attended 15th World Ageing and Generations Congress held in St Gallen, Switzerland. She spoke at various sessions of the Congress on the role of social protection in the global economic crisis and on the right to social security. More information on this congress is available at: http://www.wdassociation.org/dcpage.aspx?fid=8
31 August - 2 September 2009 - The Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty participated in the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council, held from 31 August to 2 September. She delivered a speech during the first panel discussion devoted to "Human rights perspectives on a social protection floor, addressing the social protection gap", and on the last day of the forum participated in an interactive debate between the Council members and special procedures.
The second meeting of the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council stressed the need to reaffirm linkages between poverty and human rights when developing and implementing strategies for recovery from the global economic meltdown. It stressed the importance to respect, protect and fulfill the right to social security. More information on the Social Forum is available at:
20-28 August 2009 - The Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty concluded a week-long mission in Zambia on 28 August. She had organised her visit around the analysis of some key social policies, in particular those related to social protection. In a press conference, she urged the government to act on its commitments to address extreme poverty in the country. She also commended the government for its decision to scale up the social protection programmes it is implementing, stressing that investing in the protection of the poor is not a matter of policy choice but a human rights obligation. The press release on the expert's visit is available at:
19 August 2009 - The Independent Expert on extreme poverty was in Pretoria and Johannesburg to meet with representatives of the National Security Agency and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Africa in Pretoria and discuss the social protection system in place in the country and its contribution to poverty reduction efforts. She also met with representatives of civil society and of the South Africa Human Rights Commission.
24-26 June - UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis: The independent expert on extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepulveda, submitted a briefing note for the General Assembly to take into account during the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development. The note stresses how neglecting the right to social security has left millions across the world trapped into poverty and urges States to strengthen social protection systems.
June 5th - 11th session of the Human Rights Council: Magdalena Sepulveda, Independent expert on extreme poverty, presented her first annual report and the report on her mission to Ecuador to the Human Rights Council. During the interactive dialogue following her presentation, over twenty delegations and civil society representatives addressed the importance of cash transfer programmes in the promotion of human rights and the need to strengthen these programmes. During the same day, the expert also participated to the side event entitled “The Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: Their role in the effort to ensure the universal enjoyment of human rights”. The meeting was promoted by the Permanent Missions of Albania, Belgium, Chile, France, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Romania and Senegal and the International Movement ATD Fourth World. In her presentation Sepulveda addressed the relevance of the Guiding Principles in the current context and its role as a tool for advocacy and action in favour of those living in extreme poverty.
28-29 May - CEPAL meeting on social protection in times of crisis: Magdalena Sepúlveda participated in seminars on "social protection in countries with high inequalities in times of crisis" and on poverty reduction programmes in times of crisis" in Antigua, Guatemala. Organized by the UN Economic Commission for Latin American Countries and the Cento-American Institute for Fiscal Studies (ICEFI), the meetings were attended by senior representatives of UN agencies, the World Bank, NGOs and academic institutions. She addressed the audience on cash transfer programmes from a human rights perspective during a panel on the contribution of the human rights perspective in poverty reduction and the amelioration of social programmes and policies.
25 May – Seminar: Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals: The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, participated in a seminar on the MDGs organised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, Netherlands. She participated in a panel on MDG1 describing the main findings of her study on cash transfer programme exposed in her annual report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/11/9).
21 April – Side event at the Durban Review Conference - The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepulveda participated in the side event “Discrimination and poverty – exclusion and solutions in the new Millennium” promoted by OHCHR during the Durban Review Conference in Geneva. In her intervention she discussed why measures to eliminate poverty and efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination must be understood as mutually reinforcing and complementary. Marcia Kran, Director, Research and Right to Development Division, OHCHR opened the panel and Ambassador José Augusto Lindgren Alves of Brazil chaired the discussions.
23 March - Human Rights Council – A combined report, under resolution S-9/1 focusing on the situation of human rights in the Palestine and other occupied Arab territories was presented to the 10th session of the Human Rights Council. Among other 7 mandate holders the independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty contributed to this report focusing on the situation of those living in extreme poverty in Gaza. To read the combined report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/10session/A.HRC.10.22.pdf
18 March- conference on Human Rights, Development and Accountability - the Independent Expert on the Question of Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, was a key note speaker for the opening of a conference on Human Rights, Development and Accountability in London. The event was organised by the UK Inter Agency Group on Rights Based Approaches, a network of UK-based NGOs working on the integration of human rights in development practice, the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
26 - 27 February – Expert meeting on cash transfer - the Independent Expert led a meeting organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Cash Transfer Schemes and Human Rights. Twenty-eight experts from governments, NGOs, UN departments and agencies, and academic institutions from across the world attended the meeting. At this meeting, participants analysed CTPs from a human rights perspective. Click here to read the concept note of the meeting.
20 February 2009 - Special Session of the Human Rights Council - The Independent Expert addressed the Human Rights Council during its 10th Special Session on the impact of the global economic and financial crises on the universal realization and effective enjoyment of human rights. The expert addressed the serious consequences of the crises for those living in extreme poverty. Click here to see the statement.
27 - 28 January- Seminar on the "Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights" - The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda, attended the Seminar on the "Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights" organized by OHCHR in Geneva on 27 and 28 January. The IE was joined by other special procedures mandate holders and representatives of States and civil society organizations in discussions on the added value and the practical utility of the guidelines, the content of the present draft, and on the process to adopt in order to finalize the guidelines. Participants expressed a wish that the guidelines become a practical tool for all actors in their efforts to combat extreme poverty. The Draft Guiding Principles were prepared initially by the Sub Commission of the Commission on Human Rights, and the Human Rights Council requested the organization of a series of consultations on them since 2007. OHCHR will report to the Human Rights Council on the results of this consultation.
Independent expert visit human rights organizations in Canada - From 20 to 24 January 2009, Magdalena Sepulveda participated in a series of public events in Canada. On 21 January, she addressed the staff of the organization Rights and Democracy and met with its new president, Mr. Denis Beauregard. On 22 and 23 January, she spoke at the universities of Toronto and Ottawa respectively, at public events organized by the University of Ottawa Institute of Population Health and the organization Human Rights Internet on the theme "Extreme Poverty, Human Rights and Health".
Contribution to the open-ended consultation on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy - On 15 January 2009, a statement of the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda, was read in her behalf at the Open-Ended Consultation on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy and their Family Members, in Geneva. The statement covered issues of health related discrimination and human rights, focusing on the two way causal relationship between discrimination and poverty.
8 December – Independent Expert visits the Department for International Development (United Kingdom of Great Britain)- The Department for International Development (DFID) invited the Magdalena Sepulveda to be one of the speakers at their activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In her presentation Sepulveda described her work as United Nations Independent Expert and discussed the importance of a human rights approach to development. For more info on DFID click: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/default.asp
1- 4 December – Independent Expert participates to the ESCR-Net Assembly - the Independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepulveda participated at the International Strategy meeting on ESCR “challenging poverty and inequality through human rights” and ESCR-NET General Assembly, held in Nairobi, Kenya. ESCR-Net. The gatherings were organized by ESCR NET in partnership with the Kenyan ESCR Coalition and brought together approximately 200 key human rights, social justice and grassroots’ activists from around the world. Among other issues, the meeting addressed the need to strengthen NGOs institutional capacity to influence decision-making processes regarding state and non-state accountability for the implementation of socio-economic rights. For more information on ESCR-Net: http://www.escr-net.org/
28 November – Independent Expert follows consultation on the Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights - Magdalena Sepulveda attended the Consultation on the Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights organized by ATD Fourth World. Around 20 experts from civil society organizations gathered in Geneva to discuss the current draft and prepare for the process of consultation on the principles that will be carried out in the last week of January, 2009.
24 November – Independent Expert meets The Foundation for Overcoming Poverty - Magdalena Sepulveda met with members of the board of directors and executives of The Foundation for Overcoming Poverty in Santiago de Chile. The foundation, is a key player in action and the generation of knowledge, tools and proposals on public policies for overcoming poverty and social exclusion in Chile. The meeting was aimed at analyzing opportunities for future collaboration. For more information on the Foundation: http://www.fundacionpobreza.cl/corporativo.php?tipo=1
15 November 2008 – Independent expert ends her visit to Ecuador. From 10 to 15 November 2008, the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, visited Ecuador. The expert visited the cities of Quito, Guayaquil and Lago Agrio in addition to indigenous communities in the Cotopaxi region. She met various Government authorities, the international community, academics, NGOs, including representatives from human rights organizations and social movements of afro-Ecuadorians, indigenous women, sexual minorities and people living in extreme poverty. The expert noted in a press statement some important legal and institutional advances recently promoted by the Government of Ecuador, strengthening social policies through a right's based approach. She also expressed concern on the magnitude of challenges ahead considering the significant number of people living in extreme poverty, the insufficient coverage of social policies and the increasing challenges posed by the global economic crisis. She concluded recalling the need to avoid setbacks of social policies, to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable and to ensure broad participation. To read the press statement on the visit click here (Spanish version and English version)
22 October - The Independent Expert present her report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly: The independent expert on the question of human right and extreme poverty presented her report to the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the UNGA In her statement, the Independent Expert said that the link between extreme poverty and human rights had been recognized in numerous human rights treaties and resolutions adopted by United Nations bodies. Her report on the question sketched out a conceptual framework on which her work would be based. One of the central areas of her work would address the consequences of discrimination and social exclusion on people living in extreme poverty. For more information on the report of the independent expert to the UNGA please click here A C E F R S
17 October – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty : The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Sepulveda, attended the Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty organized by the United Nations and the International Movement ATD Fourth World at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York. On the occasion the expert released a statement on the obligation to eliminate poverty. She also participated to the “Observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” and a Round-Table dialogue titled: “Turning rhetoric into action – Building effective partnerships to combat extreme poverty and Exclusion”.
15 October - Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty visits Rutgers University : During the 2008-09 academic year, Rutgers is hosting a series of events under the title Human Rights: Content and Discontent to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On October 15th, the expert took part in the events and spoke to an assembly of students and faculty about her activities and concerns. While at Rutgers , the expert also took part in the Young Women Leaders Interview Project where she was interviewed about her life, career, and leadership ideas. The Young Women Leaders Interview Project is part of the IWL Leadership Scholars Certificate Program in Women's Leadership and Social Change, a two-year selective interdisciplinary certificate program that prepares undergraduate students to be informed, innovative and socially responsible leaders.
29 September to 1 October - Third Inter-American Forum of Women against Corruption (III Foro de Mujeres contra la Corrupción): The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Sepulveda, attended the Third Inter-American Forum of Women against Corruption in Buenos Aires, Argentina, hosted by the School of Law of the Universidad de Buenos Aires. At the Forum, the Independent Expert examined the disproportionate impact of corruption on women living in poverty. Among the issues discussed were gender violence, access to justice, labor issues and the environment. More information available at: http://www.mujeresenigualdad.org.ar/
23 September -Report of the Independent Expert to the UN General Assembly available to download - The first report of the Independent Expert is now available for download in the 6 UN official languages. With this report, the expert outlines the existing conceptual framework and some of the main concerns that will guide her activities and be considered during her tenure. This report also sets out a proposed preliminary set of actions, including the preparation of a thematic report on cash transfer programmes in 2009. Download the report: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
1 to 3 September - Social Forum of the Human Rights Council: The Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda, the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, Mr. Cephas Lumina and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Olivier de Schuter participated to the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council. The Forum took place from 1st to 3rd September in Geneva gathering representatives of member States, international and non-governmental organisations. Ms. Sepulveda addressed the normative framework for the elimination of poverty. Mr. Lumina discussed the interplay between foreign debt and poverty. Mr. de Schutter focused on the food crisis and the right to food. The experts also participated to sessions of interactive dialogue and provided recommendations on the future activities of the forum.
1 to 3 July 2008 - 3rd World Forum on Human Rights: the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda, participated in the 3rd World Forum on Human Rights in Nantes, France. The Independent Expert made presentations on two panels; the first on the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights; and the second on the draft of the guiding principles, "Extreme poverty and human rights: the rights of the poor". She also met with Mr. Jose Bengoa Cabello, member of the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council, to discuss the draft guiding principles and the preparatory process for the World Social Forum.
12-13 May - Third International Policy Conference on the African Child - The independent expert participated to the Third International Policy Conference on the African Child - Towards Action against Child Poverty in Africa . The meeting was organized by the African Child Policy Forum in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia . In her presentation she outlined the contributions of the human rights approach to policies addressing child poverty.
1 May 2008 - New Independent expert on human rights and extreme poverty assume her functions - The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed a new Independent Expert on extreme poverty during its seventh session held in March 2008. Magdalena Sepulveda, a Chilean national, will assume her role as of 1 May 2008. More...
Consultation process for the "draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights: the rights of the poor" : The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on resolution 2/2 the Human Rights Council took note of the "draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights: the rights of the poor" annexed to Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights resolution 2006/9 of 24 August 2006, and requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to "circulate the draft guiding principles, in order to obtain the views of States, relevant United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organisations, United Nations treaties bodies, special procedures including the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organisations, especially those in which people in situations of extreme poverty express their views, and other relevant stakeholders, and to report to the Council at is seventh session."