Poverty and Human Rights

Demand Dignity

Across the world, 925 million people are undernourished. Every 90 seconds, a woman dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. One billion people live in slums.

Everyone, everywhere has the right to live with dignity. No one should be denied their rights to adequate housing, food, water and sanitation, and to education and health care.

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says (Article 22): "Everyone ... is entitled to realization ... of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his [or her] dignity."

Gross economic and social inequality is an enduring reality in countries of all political ideologies, and all levels of development. In the midst of plenty, many are still unable to access even minimum levels of food, water, education, health care and housing. This is not only the result of a lack of resources, but also unwillingness, negligence and discrimination by governments and others. Many groups are specifically targeted because of who they are; those on the margins of society are often overlooked altogether.

In recent years Amnesty International has broadened its mission in recognition that there are many more prisoners of poverty than prisoners of conscience, and that millions endure the torture of hunger and slow death from preventable disease. Given the interconnected nature of all human rights violations, engaging with economic, social and cultural rights has enabled Amnesty International to address complex human rights problems in a more holistic and comprehensive manner.

Amnesty International documents how human rights violations drive and deepen poverty. Amnesty International also recognizes that people living in poverty have the least access to power to shape the policies of poverty and are frequently denied effective remedies for violations of their rights.

Resources for more information:

  • Read Amnesty International's report, Human rights for human dignity
  • Check out Amnesty International's Education for Human Dignity Resource Pack on Poverty and Human Rights
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