What exactly is the Human Right to be Free from Poverty? Poverty is a violation of human rights. Every woman, man, child, and teenager has the human right to a standard of living appropriate for health and well-being, which includes food, clothes, shelter, medical treatment, and social services. When people cannot meet their own needs, they become dependent on others or suffer in poverty-related conditions such as hunger, illness, lack of education, violence, and death.
In addition to being your right, these resources can help you learn more about your rights and how to protect them:
• The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This organization works with countries to help them meet their development goals, which include reducing poverty and inequality. It also produces free information online related to rights issues.
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This landmark document was created by the United Nations and adopted on December 10, 1948. The UDHR outlines many of the freedoms we now take for granted, such as freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and press. It also mentions equality before the law and obligates governments to protect these rights.
• The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Also known as the ESCR, this agreement was signed by more than 100 countries in 1966.
What Exactly Are Human Rights? Human rights include, among other things, the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of thought and speech, the right to labor and education, and many others. Everyone, without exception, is entitled to these rights. They cannot be waived by a government or authority figure. They can only be denied by someone with power over you.
These rights were first articulated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since then, they have been incorporated into national law of almost every country in the world. Certain rights, such as the right to privacy and family planning, have been recognized by more than 100 countries. Other rights, such as the right to an effective remedy for discrimination, have not yet been included in any global agreement. However, nearly all countries have one or more international agreements that explicitly recognize some of these rights. For example, most countries have signed, but not ratified, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which includes a right to an effective remedy for civil violations.
In addition to being guaranteed by international treaties, certain human rights are also inherent within the concept of human dignity. These include the right to life, the right to liberty (including freedom from slavery), the right to equality before the law, the right to freedom of religion or belief, and many others.
As a result, the human rights approach to poverty reduction necessitates that laws and organizations that promote discrimination against certain persons and groups be repealed, and that greater resources be directed toward activities that have the greatest potential to assist the poor. These include services such as education, health care, employment opportunities, adequate housing, and clean water.
The human rights framework also requires that countries take steps to ensure that all people have access to these services. This includes ensuring that marginalized groups can use these services without being discriminated against on grounds of class, gender, religion, age, or disability. For example, a person who is homeless or lacks access to affordable healthcare has no choice but to fall back on emergency rooms for basic medical treatment. The human rights framework ensures that everyone has the opportunity to seek out more effective forms of treatment for chronic illnesses or disabilities, by requiring governments to make such services available and to provide incentives for the private sector to do so as well.
The right to peaceable assembly is another key element of the human rights framework. It allows individuals or groups to come together in order to advocate for changes that will allow them to better control their lives and improve the conditions in which they live. For example, landless peasants in Latin America can come together in assemblies where they can discuss ways to bring about political change that will help them gain ownership of the land that was taken from them during colonization.
Poverty as a result of or as a result of abuses of human rights (or violations) This third conceptual approach sees poverty as the root cause of many abuses of human rights, primarily economic and social rights, but also civil and political rights. Poverty can be reduced, yet human rights continue to be infringed. The opposite is also true: Human rights can be preserved even when poverty is widespread; indeed, some have argued that reducing poverty is one of the main ways in which individuals and groups can realize their right to freedom from poverty.
There are several factors that can lead to oppression or abuse of human rights due to poverty. First, people may lack the resources needed to assert their rights. For example, if a person is imprisoned because they cannot pay a fine or court cost, then they are suffering an abuse of their human rights because of their poverty. People may also fail to receive their fair share of opportunities or benefits, for example if they are unable to access information about jobs, housing estates, or public services. If they do manage to find out about these things, then they may not be eligible because of their age, for example, or because they are not resident in the country concerned. In both cases, this is because of their poverty - they cannot afford to pay for a job search service, or to register with another agency.
In addition to these practical obstacles, there are more fundamental reasons why poor people may be unable to protect their rights.
Failure to adopt the principles of the United Nations Convention on Economic, Societal, and Cultural Rights into UK law has exacerbated social attitudes that demean those experiencing poverty and undercut popular support for poverty eradication, writes Damian Killeen. Is poverty in the United Kingdom a violation of people's human rights? In December 2013, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) concluded that there was no evidence that Britain had taken sufficient action against discrimination against those with disabilities, or against violations of workers' rights. The CESCR also found that UK authorities failed to act on complaints about poverty-related issues such as housing, health care, and access to education.
In its report, the committee noted that poverty remains widespread in the UK. It said this shows that the government's efforts to eradicate poverty have not been successful. It added that the fact that poverty rates are still high after more than 10 years of growth indicates that many people are still suffering from the effects of the financial crisis and its legacy.
The report also pointed out that there is no national authority responsible for ensuring compliance with the convention. Therefore, the committee concluded that Britain denies people living in poverty their right to an adequate standard of living when it fails to ensure its full compliance with the convention.
Further, the committee stated that poverty matters relating to housing, employment, education, and health are not being addressed effectively without specific measures to ensure effective implementation of the convention.