Alston12.4.17 — As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, begins his official visit to the United States today, he will be drawing on five submissions prepared by students in Professor Martha Davis’ seminar on Human Rights Advocacy in the United States. Students prepared these submissions on behalf of the law school’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy and five community partners: the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Maryland Legal Aid, New Mexico Legal Aid and the Color of Water in Boston.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. He will hold a press conference at the conclusion of his US visit on December 15, and then issue his final report to the Council in the first half of 2018. UN independent experts visit countries around the world to report on their human rights situation. In recent years, the Special Rapporteur has undertaken country visits to Chile, Romania, Mauritania, China and Saudi Arabia.

“There’s a lot that Philip Alston can say about basic inequality that goes to the heart of the rights that he is reviewing,” said Davis in a Guardian story, “Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America, the world's richest nation,” on December 1. 

The Special Rapporteur invited all interested parties in the United States, including, but not limited to, NGOs, activists, academics and other individuals and organizations working on issues related to poverty and human rights, to provide input for the preparation of his forthcoming visit. Approximately three dozen organizations submitted letters. For more information and to follow the Special Rapporteur’s US visit on twitter, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/Callforinput.aspx.

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