INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY: “COMING TOGETHER WITH THOSE FURTHEST BEHIND TO BUILD AN INCLUSIVE WORLD OF UNIVERSAL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY”

1The United Nations commemorates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October every year.  The theme for the 2018 celebration is, “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity.” Over 700 million people worldwide still live in extreme poverty, that is, on less than $1.90 a day (World Bank). In addition to economic exclusion, people living in poverty also suffer social and political exclusion. They often do not have a voice in the formulation of policies that impact their lives. And, as the saying goes, “if you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” So, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty offers opportunity for people living in poverty to take the floor to speak on their experience of poverty. To mark the event at the UN, people living in poverty from within and outside the US were invited to address the global body on some of the challenges they encounter.

In his opening remarks at the event, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, noted2 that; “Ending extreme poverty is not a matter of charity, but a question of justice.” He further stressed that “poverty is not inevitable, it is not a natural state of being or occurrence.”  But as he pointed out, “poverty is often the outcome of choices that society makes.” Studies have shown that it is possible to eradicate extreme poverty in this century, if governments have the political will to dedicate the required resources to building human capital and providing social services. Through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, world leaders made the commitment to eradicate extreme poverty in their respective countries. It is now the responsibility of citizens of every country to hold their governments accountable to this commitment.

As the UN marks the 70th anniversary since the adoption of the “landmark document” on human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human of Rights, it is important to highlight the connection between poverty and human rights. Access to services such as basic healthcare, education, housing, clean water, and sanitation is a human right that governments are obliged to provide for the people.

Learn more:

Watch the event for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the UN: https://bit.ly/2yowM66

To End Extreme Poverty by 2030, We Need to Tackle Inequality:  https://bit.ly/2OJwfoq

World Bank September, 2018, Press Release on Extreme Poverty: https://bit.ly/2OxyqIl

 

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