Human_Rights_Poverty_and_Human_Rights_11

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Human Rights and Poverty : 

Human Rights and Poverty Human rights as a concept Poverty as a concept Relationship between human rights and poverty Normative framework Other related notions Human rights principles underlying poverty reduction strategies

Human rights as a concept : 

Human rights as a concept Values about the protection of human dignity, laid down in legal texts, that entail rights for individuals and obligations for states. Requirements for a right to be recognized as a human right: Object: substance or content of a right Subject: right holder Duty bearer: duty holder

Categories of human rights: : 

Categories of human rights: Civil and political rights Economic, social and cultural rights Collective or group rights

Economic, social and cultural rights : 

Economic, social and cultural rights Different definitions: Rights relating to an adequate standard of living; Conditions under which people live and work; Claims to the fulfilment of basic needs; Claims relating to the quality of life from a material and immaterial perspective; Claims relating to opportunities to make a living and the protection of working conditions.

Poverty as a concept : 

Poverty as a concept Amartya Sen’s capability approach: A person’s freedom or opportunities to achieve well-being. Poverty: low levels of capability. Sen: “the failure of basic capabilities to reach certain minimally acceptable levels”. Basic capabilities: being adequately nourished, clothed and sheltered, avoiding preventable morbidity, taking part in the life of a community and being able to appear in public with dignity.

Poverty as a broad concept: : 

Poverty as a broad concept: Inadequate command over economic resources (work generated income) Insufficient command over publicly provided goods and services (housing, health, education) Inadequate command over or access to resources that are made available through formal and informal networks of support (social security and social assistance)

Voices of the Poor (World Bank, 2000) : 

Voices of the Poor (World Bank, 2000) “Poverty is lack of freedom, enslaved by crushing daily burden, by depression and fear of what the future will bring.” (Georgia) “For a poor person everything is terrible – illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.” – (A blind woman from Tiraspol, Moldova.)

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“Poverty is like living in jail, living under bondage, waiting to be free.” (Jamaica) “If you want to do something and have no power to do it, it is talauchi (poverty).” (Nigeria)

Extreme poverty : 

Extreme poverty The combination of: Income poverty: lack of income or purchasing power to secure basic needs. Human development poverty: extreme or severe deprivation of elements of well-being, such as health, education, food, housing. Social exclusion: When as a consequence of marginalization, discrimination and exclusion in social relations, people lack basic security and the capability to lead a life of value.

Impoverishment: : 

Impoverishment: A worsening of the poverty situation of people as a result of a deliberate policy of the state or a failure or indifference by the state to embark on an active and effective policy of poverty eradication.

Relationship between poverty and human rights : 

Relationship between poverty and human rights The capability approach defines poverty as the absence or inadequate realization of certain basic freedoms. These freedoms should be understood as negative and positive freedoms: Negative: non-interference with the pursuit of freedoms; Positive: creation of an enabling environment.

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Basic freedoms, both negative and positive ones, are considered as fundamental for minimal human dignity. Consequently, poverty can be defined as: Either the failure of basic freedoms (from the perspective of capabilities) Or the non-fulfilment of rights to those freedoms (from the perspective of human rights)

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Non-fulfilment of human rights would count as poverty when it meets the following two conditions: The human rights involved must be those that correspond to the capabilities that are considered basic by a given society. Inadequate command over economic resources must play a role in the causal chain leading to the non-fulfilment of human rights.

Poverty seen through a human rights lens: : 

Poverty seen through a human rights lens: A human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Poverty constitutes a denial of human rights. (UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Statement on Poverty, 2001)

Disputed definition of poverty from a human rights perspective: : 

Disputed definition of poverty from a human rights perspective: Poverty as a massive and ongoing violation of human rights. Poverty is seen as a mass, structural and enduring phenomenon, in which individuals and families are subjected to poverty by external forces and decisions which have nothing to do with them and over which most of the time they have no control. Poverty appears as an arbitrary imposition on certain individuals and groups, and constitutes a flagrant type of discrimination.

Poverty as a violation of human rights? : 

Poverty as a violation of human rights? What is a violation? A violation is an act or omission (failure to act) which destroys or harms the enjoyment of a right which a state is under an obligation to respect or to fulfil. Of which legal norm? There is no human right not to be poor. By whom? ? Who is the duty bearer? ? Who is the perpetrator?

The United Nations position: : 

The United Nations position: The United Nations presently sees poverty as a cause and a product of human rights violations. Poverty is characterized by discrimination, unequal access to resources and social and cultural stigmatization. It amounts to a denial of human rights and human dignity. Fighting poverty is a matter of obligation, not of aspiration or charity.

General Assembly of the United Nations: : 

General Assembly of the United Nations: “The existence of widespread extreme poverty inhibits the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and might, in some situations, constitute a threat to the right to life.”

Normative Legal Framework : 

Normative Legal Framework International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966); Article 2(1) + 6-15 Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) Vienna Declaration – World Conference (1993): “All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated.”

Core human rights obligations : 

Core human rights obligations “(...) the Committee is of the view that a minimum core obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of each of the rights is incumbent upon every State party. Thus, for example, a State party in which any significant number of individuals is deprived of essential foodstuffs, of essential primary health care, of basic shelter and housing, or of the most basic forms of education is, prima facie, failing to discharge its obligations under the Covenant.” UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment no. 3, § 10.

UN-Millennium Declaration (2000) : 

UN-Millennium Declaration (2000) “We will spare no efforts to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.”

Human Rights Principles Underlying Poverty Reduction Strategies : 

Human Rights Principles Underlying Poverty Reduction Strategies Universality and Indivisibility Equality and Non-Discrimination Participation and Inclusion Empowerment of Poor People Accountability and the Rule of Law State obligations: progressive realization of esc-rights Obligation of International Cooperation

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Poverty reduction is clearly a human rights obligation. ? Failure to overcome poverty implies a failure to implement human rights. Lack of anti-poverty policies and programs may give rise to a violation of human rights obligations.

Slide 24: 

Poverty reduction strategies should depart from a human rights based approach: ? national level: pro-poor programs aimed at vulnerable and marginalized groups require priorities in the budget; ? IMF and World Bank programs; ? Bilateral development cooperation.

Added Value of a human rights based approach to poverty reduction: : 

Added Value of a human rights based approach to poverty reduction: International legal human rights obligations accepted voluntarily add legitimacy to poverty reduction. Recognition of complementarities between economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights. Focus on both processes and goals of development. Emphasis on legal obligations to realize essential services. Accountability of policy-makers.

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