Statement Issued by IFSW Secretary-General, Rory Truell and President, Silvana Martinez
Today the United Nations and world highlight the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with the 2019 theme: “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity”.
Today one billion people earn and spend $32 or more per day. Two billion live on between $8 and $32 a day; three billion earn between $2 and $8 a day, and one billion people are living on less than $2 per day.
Social workers are in nearly every community implementing programmes and supporting people to lead their own development for better lives and out of poverty. To the social work profession, the realization of human rights and ending poverty are bound together. There are successful examples of social work rights-based approaches throughout the world that address the multidimensional factors of development. Yet as a global profession we witness a predominance of top-down policies that inadvertently keep people and their potential trapped.
Too often the poverty is still seen as a result of people’s own inabilities and that they are to blame for their own shortage of resources, and many see the solution as aid or charity. Yet as a global profession working daily with the realities of poverty and development the evidence is clear: Rights-based systemic changes are needed for all people to live with dignity and equality.
To ‘eradicate’ poverty, social rights such as: Socially-just global trade systems and international labour rights laws are needed along with the commitment to the rights to health, housing, social care, nutrition, work, public transport, education and democratic structures that engage and empower all members of society.
IFSW embraces the United Nation’s campaign for working together for inclusiveness, equality and human rights. As social workers, we say: Poverty cannot simply be eradicated as if there were a vaccine, its end will come through a commitment for systems change at all levels and throughout the world. Make poverty illegal.