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(New York) – Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity Campaign Director Tanuka Loha made the following comments today in response to new U.S. government census figures revealing that a record number of Americans – nearly 1 in 2 – have fallen into poverty or are struggling to live on low incomes:
“The record number of people in the United States who are falling into poverty is a human rights crisis, one that demonstrates the painful consequences of the U.S. government’s failure to recognize economic, social and cultural rights as fundamental rights, let alone commit to a plan to respect, protect and fulfill these rights. The census figures show vividly the pain and suffering ordinary people experience when their rights are ignored or denied.”
“The international community – with the United States playing a leading role – recognized in adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, that human beings can only achieve freedom from fear and want, as well as freedom of speech and belief, if conditions are created whereby all people can enjoy all human rights. We urge Congress and the Obama Administration to take urgently needed steps to guarantee all people a life of dignity. Particularly, Amnesty International urges the U.S. government to protect the rights to just and favorable remuneration, access to healthcare and adequate housing, and to exercise more effective oversight over corporations and financial institutions, in order that basic human needs can be fulfilled in this time of economic austerity.” The latest census figures reflect a shrinking middle class with continued high joblessness and a fraying government safety net.
Around the world, millions of people are imprisoned in poverty; thousands die each day from hunger and preventable disease and untold numbers go without clean water, education, and work. The Demand Dignity campaign works to protect economic, social and cultural rights, especially the right to a healthy environment, the right to housing and the right to health.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.