Philip Alston appointed Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, was appointed Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights by Baudelaire Ndong Ella, president of the United Nations Human Rights Council, on May 7.

Philip Alston

As Special Rapporteur, an independent and unpaid position, Alston will investigate and report back to UN member states on initiatives to promote and protect the human rights of people living in extreme poverty. Alston will be tasked with making recommendations on how those in extreme poverty can play a part in defining measures that affect them; studying the impact of discrimination, with particular attention to women, children, the disabled, and other vulnerable groups; and fostering cooperation with UN bodies and international conferences addressing extreme poverty.

Alston’s activities in service of these duties will include visiting affected countries; responding to information on human rights situations involving people living in extreme poverty; engaging in dialogue with governments, international organizations, and other relevant actors about promoting rights for those in extreme poverty; submitting annual reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly; and communicating with states and other parties regarding allegations of human rights violations involving people in extreme poverty and social exclusion.

The new appointment is the latest chapter in Alston’s long involvement with the UN. He was previously Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions from 2004 to 2010. Alston has also served as special adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals, among many other roles dating back to the 1970s. His fact-finding missions have taken him to countries including Sri Lanka, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Israel, Lebanon, Albania, Kenya, Brazil, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, the United States, Albania, and Ecuador.

An authority on international law and international human rights law, Alston is a faculty director and co-chair of NYU Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. From 1996 to 2007, he was editor-in-chief of the European Journal of International Law. Before coming to the Law School he was a professor of international law at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

Posted May 8, 2014