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United Nations

Draft guiding principles "Extreme poverty and human rights: the rights of the poor"

Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

United Nations Human Rights Council

21 August 2006

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The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,

Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want was proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Building on the efforts relating to human rights and extreme poverty accomplished by the United Nations since 1987, and in particular the final report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/13) of the Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Mr. Despouy,

Recalling the resolutions of the General Assembly on the issue, particularly resolution 59/186 of 20 December 2004, which reaffirmed (a) that extreme poverty persists in all countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, (b) 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, (c) that it is essential for States to foster participation by the poorest people in the decision-making process in the societies in which they live, in the promotion of human rights and in efforts to combat extreme poverty,

Recalling that situations of extreme poverty, resulting from a combination of factors of insecurity and affecting several aspects of people’s lives in a lasting manner, compromise the chances of people living in such situations to reassume their responsibilities and regain their rights in the foreseeable future,

Considering the Millennium Declaration, in which heads of State and government solemnly declared: “We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected”,

Considering also the 2005 World Summit Outcome, in which heads of State and government stressed “the right of people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair”, and recognized that “all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential”,

Bearing in mind Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/16 of 14 April 2005, in which the Commission expressed deep concern that extreme poverty persists in all countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, and reaffirmed that extreme poverty and exclusion from society constitute a violation of human dignity and that it is essential for States to foster participation by the poorest people in the decision-making process in the societies in which they live and in the realization of human rights,

Noting that, in resolution 2005/16, the Commission also recalled that a better understanding is needed of what is endured by people living in poverty, including women and children, and that thought must be given to the subject, drawing on the experience and ideas communicated by the poorest themselves and by those committed to working alongside them,

Taking note of the reports of the independent experts on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Ms. Lizin and Mr. Sengupta (in particular E/CN.4/2004/43, E/CN.4/2005/49 and E/CN.4/2006/43), especially the analysis carried out by Mr. Sengupta of social exclusion as a key and specific element of extreme poverty,

Taking note of Commission resolution 2001/31 of 23 April 2001, in which the Commission requested the Sub-Commission to consider the need to develop guiding principles on the implementation of existing human rights norms and standards in the context of the fight against extreme poverty,

Recalling its own resolution 2001/8 of 15 August 2001, in which it entrusted a group of experts from the Sub-Commission with the task of preparing a joint working paper, without financial implications, on the need to develop, on the basis of the various relevant international instruments, the ongoing work in other forums, the conclusions and recommendations of the Expert Seminar on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty and any other relevant inputs, in particular those received from Governments, guiding principles on the implementation of existing human rights norms and standards in the context of the fight against extreme poverty,

Also recalling its own resolution 2005/9 of 8 August 2005, in which it requested the ad hoc group of experts to submit their final report to it at its fifty-eighth session,

Noting with interest the final report of Mr. José Bengoa, coordinator of the ad hoc group of experts, on the implementation of existing human rights norms and standards in the context of the fight against extreme poverty (A/HRC/Sub.1/58/16).



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