The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, will undertake a human rights fact-finding visit to Ghana from 9–18 April 2018 to assess government efforts to eradicate poverty through the lens of international human rights law.
During his 10-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will travel to Accra for meetings with government officials and civil society, and will then visit regions and districts with high poverty rates, particularly in the north. Professor Alston will meet with government officials at the national and local level.
He will also meet with individuals living in poverty to hear about their experiences, talk with civil society organizations working on poverty and human rights, and receive briefings from academic experts.
“Ghana finds itself at an important crossroads as it seeks to maintain impressive levels of economic growth while also addressing widespread poverty,” said the human rights expert. “High levels of inequality threaten to undermine this growth as well as the rights of the poor.”
“There is no question about the challenges posed by the existence of extreme poverty in Ghana. I will be seeking to better understand the role played by human rights obligations in this context, how the poor experience rights violations in Ghana, and how a human rights framework might provide guidance on economic sustainability and poverty alleviation measures,” explained Professor Alston.
“Ghana has demonstrated an impressive commitment to human rights at the international level and my visit will be designed to explore how this plays out at the national level, including through meaningful engagement with regional human rights mechanisms,” said the independent human rights expert.
In preparing for the visit the Special Rapporteur seeks input from civil society to be provided by 28 February 2018.
Some of the topics that the Special Rapporteur will address during his visit are the protection of the human rights of the poor in both rural and urban settings, the accessibility of social protection programs, and the level of participation by people living in poverty in decisions affecting them.
The expert will also look at how the criminal justice system interacts with persons living in poverty, and how it treats particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups.
The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference to be held at the end of his mission on Wednesday 18 April 2018 at 11:00 am at the Ghana Journalists Association.
He will also issue a press release and a more detailed end of mission statement at the same time. The press conference will be live-streamed and efforts will be made to create an opportunity to call into the press conference for journalists who are not based in Accra. The Special Rapporteur’s final report on his visit to Ghana will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2019.