Visit to the UK by Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

First of all, a big thank you from Dorothy Gould to all of you who contributed research evidence and personal stories for NSUN’s written submission to the Special Rapporteur ahead of his visit.

These were of huge assistance with the report that NSUN submitted: about disproportionate levels of poverty amongst people with lived experience and devastating effects of welfare reform.

Philip Alston is now touring the UK to investigate the persistence of extreme poverty in this country and ways in which it affects human rights.

He has sent this message to everyone who forwarded written submissions to him:

‘Nearly 300 civil society organizations, individuals, and others responded to my call for written submissions. I heard from charities, community organizations, social workers, local authorities, think tanks, legal services providers, national human rights institutions, and many others in relation to the visit. I am especially thankful to the individuals with experiences of poverty who shared their perspectives.

I have never before received so many submissions in advance of a country visit and I believe this level of engagement indicates a real appetite for a discussion about poverty and human rights in the UK. My team and I have taken these submissions into account as we prepare for the visit and they will surely strengthen my findings’.

During his current two-week visit, Philip Alston is travelling round England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to meet individuals affected by poverty, civil society organizations, academics, and government officials. 

Details about his itinerary can be found here .

Although it did not prove possible for NSUN to gain an organisational place at one of these meetings, seemingly because of the limited time for the visit and the large numbers of people for Philip Alston to see, you can follow developments about the visit on Twitter: @UNSR_Alston. 

When he has completed his visit on 16th November, Philip Alston will be making a public statement which will be livestreamed on his Facebook page.

He will follow this up with a full report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2019. As you probably remember, Committee members from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities raised continued, serious concerns about poverty issues in the UK in their report last October, so each report should reinforce the other.

We’ll keep you posted.