GENEVA (18 May 2022) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, will visit Kyrgyzstan from 23 May to 3 June 2022 to examine the Government’s efforts to eradicate poverty.
“The rate of poverty in Kyrgyzstan has fallen gradually in recent decades. However, the last two years have seen an increase in the number of people affected by poverty,” said De Schutter, an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report, and advise on poverty and human rights. “The Government is committed to reducing poverty and my visit will be an opportunity to provide recommendations to improve these efforts.”
Kyrgyzstan has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased unemployment and rising food prices. In 2020, over one quarter of the population, or 1.68 million people, lived under the national poverty line.
Poverty in Kyrgyzstan is also expected to be exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conflict and resulting sanctions are likely to affect the Kyrgyz economy, which depends on imports and remittances from migrants working in Russia.
“A fall in remittances, combined with growing inflation, threatens the livelihoods of people already struggling to make ends meet in Kyrgyzstan,” De Schutter said.
During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will examine the adequacy of social protection benefits and the quality of the healthcare, housing and education systems. He will also assess the situation of groups disproportionately impacted by poverty, including children, people with disabilities and older persons.
De Schutter will hold meetings in Bishkek, as well as in the regions of Naryn, Osh and Batken. He will meet with national and local government officials, individuals and communities affected by poverty, as well as international and civil society organizations. A preliminary schedule of the visit is available here.
The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 3 June at 11:30am Bishkek time. It will be strictly limited to journalists, and will be live-streamed. Further details will be made available at www.srpoverty.org, and on Twitter at @srpoverty.
The Special Rapporteur’s visit is informed by extensive preparatory input and research in advance of the visit.
The final report of the Special Rapporteur will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2023.
Mr. Olivier De Schutter (Belgium) was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020 and is part of the Special Procedures. A Professor of Law at UCLouvain and at SciencesPo (Paris), Mr. De Schutter was the Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014, and a member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights between 2015 and 2020. Prior to those appointments, he was Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
Special Procedures is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.
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