For the first time global policy guidelines focusing specifically on the human rights of people living in poverty have been developed. The Guidelines are intended as a practical tool for policy-makers to ensure that public policies (including poverty eradication efforts) reach the poorest members of society, respect and uphold their rights, and take into account the significant social, cultural, economic and structural obstacles to human rights enjoyment faced by persons living in poverty.
ATD Fourth World initiative, including IFSW, called on the United Nations to consider extreme poverty itself as a violation of human rights in 1982. ATD Fourth World collected 300,000 signatures that were delivered to the then Secretary-General. With the support of leading human rights experts, committed governments, and other human rights NGOs, this eventually led to the Human Rights Council’s predecessor body deciding that a rights-based approach to the fight against poverty would be a powerful tool in the eradication of extreme poverty. The Council then mandated the Special rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda, to finalize the Guiding Principles for their adoption. Find the Guiding principles here: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Poverty/A-HRC-21-39_en.pdf
The adoption of the Guiding Principles constitutes a significant advancement in the fight against poverty. They provide guidance on how to apply human rights standards in designing and implementing poverty reduction and eradication policies and how to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of persons living in extreme poverty.
IFSW Main Representative to the UN Geneva, Klaus Kühne said, “This is major step towards the objectives held by social workers and human rights advocates. The challenge now is to get the principles translated into reality”. Mr Kühne recommends that IFSW members support the call of the UN Special Rapporteur Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona for examples of existing participatory programs, and best practices that have enabled successful participation of civil society and people living in poverty. “This will assist policy makers to understand the importance of gaining a grass roots perspective” Mr Kühne said. For more information on the call for examples see: http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?article4111).
IFSW will be collecting all members submissions and presenting these as a global Social Work response to the United Nations. Please send yous contributions by the 7th December 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org
To see IFSW current Statement of Ethical Principles, see (http://www.ifsw.org/policies/statement-of-ethical-principles/).