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UN EXPERT TO VISIT ARGENTINA TO ASSESS IMPACT OF FOREIGN DEBT BURDEN ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT

15 November 2013

United Nations Expert on foreign debt Cephas Lumina will visit Argentina from 18 to 29 November 2013 to assess the impact of  the country’s external debt burden on the Government’s capacity to realize all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. 

“I will gather information about the impact of Argentina’s debt default in 2001 and the subsequent debt restructurings on the realization of human rights in the country,” Mr. Lumina said, launching the first fact-finding mission to Argentina by an independent expert charged by the United Nations Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the impact of foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights.

The Independent Expert will pay close attention to how Argentina has managed to realize the internationally agreed United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the aftermath of the crisis, amid concerns that the debt restructuring is being undermined by lawsuits against the State by ‘vulture funds.’

“My visit will provide an opportunity to gather first-hand information about the difficulties the country is facing and propose strategies designed to enhance the ability of the State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights,” Mr. Lumina said.

The expert, who visits the country at the invitation of the Argentinian authorities, will meet with senior Government officials, including representatives of various ministries and State institutions.  He will also have meetings with representatives of international organizations, national human rights bodies, civil society and academic experts.

The Independent Expert will hold a press conference to share the preliminary findings of his visit on Friday, on 29 November 2013 at 13:30 at UNIC Buenos Aires, Junín 1940, 1º, Buenos Aires.

His final findings and key recommendations will be presented in a comprehensive report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Cephas Lumina is an Advocate of the High Court for Zambia and an Extra-Ordinary Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria.  He has extensive experience in human rights and holds a PhD in international human rights from Griffith University.  He was appointed Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2008.  He is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. The mandate covers all countries. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/IEDebt/Pages/IEDebtIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Argentina: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/ARIndex.aspx

Read the Independent Expert’s statement on Argentina/Ghana (December 2012): “Vulture funds’ should not be allowed to paralyze debt relief”:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12888&LangID=E

For more information and media requests please contact:
Before and after the visit: Gunnar Theissen (+41 22 917 9321 / gtheissen@ohchr.org) or write to ieforeigndebt@ohchr.org
During the visit: Juan Miguel Dothas (+51 11 4803-7671/72 ext. 114 unic.buenosaires@unic.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR13/330E