Human rights and extreme poverty

1993/13. Human rights and extreme poverty

The Commission on Human Rights, Recalling that the peoples of the United Nations have reaffirmed in the Charter of the United Nations their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, Mindful that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, Recalling that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights recognize that the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights, Reaffirming that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are indivisible and interrelated and that the promotion and protection of one category of rights should never exempt or excuse States from the promotion and protection of other rights, Recalling that the elimination of widespread poverty and the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights remain interrelated goals, Deeply concerned by the fact that extreme poverty continues to spread throughout the countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social or cultural situation, and gravely affects the most vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, families and groups, who are thus hindered in the exercise of their human rights and their fundamental freedoms, Recognizing, moreover, that respect for and promotion of all human rights are essential if individuals are to participate freely and responsibly in the development of the society in which they live, Aware of the need for improved knowledge of extreme poverty and its causes, including those connected with the problem of development, for the purpose of promoting the human rights of the poorest, Recalling its resolutions 1990/15 of 23 February 1990, in which it requested the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to carry out a specific study of extreme poverty and social exclusion, 1991/14 of 22 February 1992, in which it recommended the Sub-Commission to give attention more particularly to the conditions in which the poorest themselves can convey their experience and their thinking and so contribute to a better understanding of the harsh reality of their lives and its causes, and of its meaning for the international community, and 1992/11 of 21 February 1992, Recalling also its resolution 1991/12 of 22 February 1991, entitled "Popular participation in its various forms as an important factor in development and in the full realization of all human rights", Recalling further General Assembly resolution 47/134 of 18 December 1992, entitled "Human rights and extreme poverty", which reaffirms that extreme poverty and social exclusion constitute a violation of human dignity and emphasizes the need for an in-depth and comprehensive study of extreme poverty focusing on the experience and thinking of the poorest, Recalling decision 1991/6, entitled "Reaching the poorest", adopted by the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund, in which it is emphasized, inter alia, that a more thorough knowledge of the situation of the poorest children and their families, of their living conditions and the pre-conditions necessary for their partnership would make it easier to reach the groups in question; in particular children, and in which the Executive Director is invited to mention, in his yearly reports, progress on this issue within the United Nations Children's Fund, Noting the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which acknowledges that there are in all parts of the world children living in especially difficult conditions and that special attention should be granted to those children, Noting also General Assembly resolution 44/82 of 8 December 1989, in which the Assembly proclaimed 1994 as International Year of the Family, Mindful of the Secretary-General's report on human rights and extreme poverty (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1991/38 and Add.1 and 2), prepared on the basis of information transmitted by Governments, specialized agencies, United Nations bodies, other intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, Bearing in mind in this context the action already taken in the relevant forums to ensure the realization of economic, social and cultural rights,

1. Reaffirms that extreme poverty and exclusion from society constitute a violation of human dignity and that urgent national and international action is therefore required to eliminate them;

2. Draws the attention of the General Assembly, specialized agencies, United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organizations to the contradiction between the existence of situations of extreme poverty and exclusion from society, which must be overcome, and the duty to guarantee full enjoyment of human rights;

3. Encourages the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to pay more attention in its work to the question of extreme poverty and exclusion from society;

4. Also encourages the Committee on the Rights of the Child to examine the situation of children living in extreme poverty with a view to promoting the enjoyment of all rights recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular during its forthcoming discussions on the economic exploitation of children;

5. Recalls that, to ensure the protection of the rights of all non-discrimination as regards the poorest and the full exercise rights and fundamental freedoms, a better understanding is needed of what peoples living in extreme poverty endure and thought must be given to the subject, drawing on the experiences and ideas of the poorest themselves and of those committed to working alongside them;

6. Endorses Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities resolution 1992/27 of 27 August 1992 appointing Mr. Leandro Despouy as Special Rapporteur on the question of human rights and extreme poverty with responsibility for preparing a study on this issue, bearing particularly in mind the approach defined in Commission resolution 1992/11 ;

7. Invites the Special Rapporteur to give special attention to the following aspects:

(a) The effects of extreme poverty on the enjoyment and exercise of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those affected by it;

(b) Efforts by the poorest themselves to exercise their rights and participate fully in the development of the society in which they live;

(c) Conditions in which the poorest can convey their experiences and ideas and become partners in the enjoyment of human rights;

(d) Means of promoting a better understanding of the experiences and ideas of the poorest and those committed to working alongside them;

8. Also invites the Special Rapporteur, in his report to the Sub-Commission at its forty-fifth session, to consider the possibility of organizing a seminar with a view to furthering reflection on the topic "Extreme poverty and denial of human rights" and to make suggestions in this regard;

9. Calls upon States, specialized agencies, United Nations bodies and other international organizations, including non-governmental organizations, to give due attention to this problem and to make known their views on human rights and extreme poverty to the Secretary-General;

10. Welcomes General Assembly resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992 proclaiming 17 October each year as International Day for the Elimination of Poverty;

11. Calls upon States, United Nations bodies and other international organizations, including non-governmental organizations, to give due attention each International Day to the situation of the poorest, who must be the focus of events, taking into account events already organized worldwide since 17 October 1987 around the topic "Rejection of extreme poverty", and to inform the Secretary-General of the activities they are undertaking in this regard;

12. Invites the Secretary-General to take into account, in preparing the programme for the International Day, the relationship between extreme poverty and the full realization of human rights and, in this context, expresses the hope that the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and the Centre for Human Rights will be fully involved in the activities;

13. Also invites the Secretary-General to report to the Commission at its fiftieth session on all these matters;

14. Recommends the following draft resolution to the Economic and Social Council for adoption:

[For the text, see chap. I, sect. A, draft resolution I.]

42nd meeting
26 February 1992
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. VII.]
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