The adoption of the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2012 was a significant victory in the effort to end extreme poverty. It acknowledged that poverty is not simply a matter of lack of income. These Guiding Principles clearly identify actions that governments and other relevant actors should take to ensure that all people are able to enjoy their human rights.
For perhaps the first time in history, a set of United Nations principles has been translated into concrete suggestions for everyday people to take action. Spearheaded by Franciscans International and ATD Fourth World, dozens of grassroots organizations worldwide, as well as individuals with a lived experience of poverty, have created a handbook to, as the title suggests, make human rights work for all.
The handbook, entitled “Making Human Rights Work for People Living in Extreme Poverty: A handbook for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights” is for local actors, both those who work for the state such as social workers, community organizers, teachers, and urban planners, as well as those who work for non-governmental organizations and religious or community groups.
This handbook is a practical tool for social workers, policy makers, civil servants, law enforcement officials, teachers, health care providers, and human rights advocates working at the local level to ensure that public policies reach the poorest members of society and respect and uphold all their rights. I am convinced that it can help to create an enabling environment in which people living in poverty are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty.
– Magdalena Sepúlveda, former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights
Launched in September 2015, the handbook is already proving to be an invaluable tool for explaining in clear and simple language the specific implications of human rights for people who have been marginalized by the rest of society. And because it puts forward concrete ideas for advancing their rights, it is now being used by people within academia, civil society organizations, as well as government institutions and services. Read more about how the handbook has proven to be an invaluable source of information and inspiration on the many actions that can be taken to improve the conditions of people living in extreme poverty.