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U.S. Statement on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights
May 28, 2013

U.S. Statement
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on
Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona

UN Human Rights Council – 23rd Session
May 28, 2013

Thank you Madame Vice President.

The United States welcomes this latest report from the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and her ongoing examination of the multiple obstacles that the poorest of the poor face in realizing the full enjoyment of their human rights.  We appreciated the opportunity to meet informally during her visit to the United States last year.

As President Obama declared in his State of the Union this past January, “the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy; by empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed, empower, and educate themselves; by saving the world’s children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach.”

Addressing barriers for those in extreme poverty to political and economic participation are critical steps toward achieving this goal.  This is why the United States is committed – at home and abroad – to promoting political, economic, and social empowerment at all levels of society.

We agree with the Special Rapporteur that effective participation of all citizens ensures that decision-making includes a broader range of perspectives and interests.  We believe that the basis for participation is best reflected in the Universal Declaration and the ICCPR’s provisions that every citizen has the right and opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, either directly or through freely chosen representatives.

Overall, we commend the Special Rapporteur for her operational framework approach, which recognizes that there are numerous ways to bring about more effective participation by the poor in decision-making.  She has identified useful concrete steps that states can take to ensure meaningful participation of people living in poverty, including access to information, elimination of discrimination, accountability, and support for the role of civil society.

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