Every attitude, every gesture has to fight poverty and exclusion. There are many ways to act, regardless of our skills and availability. These messages, these testimonials reflect. Feel free to contribute.

Testimonies are published under the responsibility of the author. They are subject to validation: these will be published only if they comply, in form and substance the spirit of this day as defined in the International Charter for October 17.



2014 UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

I would like to send by best wishes to all those taking part in the 2014 UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The theme for this year’s International Day is: Leave No One Behind: Think, Decide and Act Together Against Extreme Poverty. It is a theme which invites us, as global citizens, to work in unison to fight one of the greatest human rights violations of the 21st century - global hunger.

It is also a theme which reminds us that if we are to stand in solidarity with the world’s poor and marginalized, we must never allow silent indifference or thoughtless collusion to overcome our innate humanitarian instinct.

UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a significant date on the global calendar. I thank you for ensuring it is a day when we, in Ireland, join together with citizens across the world in a spirit of shared humanity as we seek for sustainable solutions to marginalization and poverty.

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Dublin 17 October Community Gathering
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Address by Emily LOGAN, Chief Commissioner Designate for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Designate

Today is a unique and important event to highlight the effects of poverty and discrimination experienced by people in their daily lives. It’s a stark reminder that human dignity must always be preserved.

I’m here today representing the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. It’s going to be a new public body that will be set up on the 1st November. And our job is to protect and promote human rights and equality here in Ireland and to ensure that the dignity and worth of each person is respected.

Poverty is a denial of human rights. Poverty denies people their human rights because it directly undermines their human dignity. If poverty and inequality that lead to it are tackled , then there’s a much better chance that the human rights of people experiencing poverty will be strengthened and better respected.

To ensure that no body is ever left behind it’s more important than ever that people in poverty themselves are seen as the first defenders of human rights. We need to hear their voices, and we need to hear their experiences. And to do that, as I believe Liam said earlier, how can we expect people to exercise their rights if they don’t know about their human rights. And that will be part of our job at the Commission which is to try and educate the public about human rights. Those testimonies today are proof that we should respect this voice and support people in the exercise of their own rights.

As we share in a spirit of humanity across the world let us never give up on the fight to seek solutions to marginalisation and poverty.

Dublin 17 October Community Gathering
Emily Logan

Let’s make the World Day for the Eradication of Extreme Poverty as a daily reference of action, of mobilization

October 17th

Let’s make the World Day for the Eradication of Extreme Poverty as a daily reference of action, of mobilization

It is unacceptable that everyday thousands of people, mostly children from one to five years, die of hunger, exclusion and abandonment while over 3 billion dollars are invested in weapons and military spending.

As Jean Ziegler says, "hunger is the most active and dreadful weapon of mass destruction."  

The time for silence is over. Now we can express ourselves freely. Let us join our voices to demand justice in favor of the victims, of those who survive in extremely precarious conditions.  

"Do not leave anyone behind”. Think, decide and act together against extreme poverty. All together with ATD Quart Monde, to relieve and heal the situation of many of our brothers.

Federico Mayor - Foundation Culture of Peace

2014 - Message from the Secretary General of the United Nations


17 October 2014

On this day we recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty -- and plan for a world where no-one is left behind.

We have reached the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people living in poverty ahead of time. At least 700 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2010.

Despite this enormous success, one in every five persons in developing regions -- 1.22 billion people -- live on less than $1.25 a day, an d 2.4 billion live on less than $2 a day.

Since the beginning of the financial crisis, inequality has grown even more pronounced than it was already. Discrimination against women and girls remains a blatant injustice, robbing the entire development enterprise of one of the keys to progress.

Entrenched poverty and prejudice, and vast gulfs between wealth and destitution, can undermine the fabric of societies and lead to instability. Where poverty holds sway, people are held back. Lives disfigured by poverty are cruel, mean and, often, short.

As we prepare the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and address the threat of climate change, we must not lose sight of our most fundamental obligation: to eliminate poverty in all its forms. We must also end the mar

ginalization of people living in poverty. Their knowledge and perspectives are vital if we are to find meaningful, durable solutions.

I urge Member States and all partners to act decisively together to eradicate poverty and build a sustainable, peaceful, prosperous and equitable future for all.

Our aim must be prosperity for all, not just a few.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Message from the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty


Far more than charity is needed to lift 2.2 billion people out of poverty for good, says Philip Alston

GENEVA (16 October 2014) – If poverty is ever really to be eradicated, States will need to adopt a human rights-based approach and to place the right to social protection at the centre of their anti-poverty policies and programmes, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, commemorated on Friday, 17 October 2014, the United Nations expert urged all international actors to go beyond charity by supporting the United Nations Social Protection Floor Initiative to guarantee basic income security and access to essential social services for all.

“Another International Day for the Eradication of Poverty…For many, this will conjure up images of helpless individuals, dependent on charity to survive, but such a stereotype is misleading and deeply problematic,” says Mr. Alston.

“The Biblical notion that ‘the poor will always be with us’ remains true only as long as the international community’s approach to poverty eradication is based on charity and discretionary governmental handouts, rather than on recognition of a human right to social protection.” According to the United Nations expert, the Governments must fulfil their human rights obligation to guarantee minimum social protection to everyone, rather than relying on a “Band-Aid” solution which perpetuates the need for charity.   

Over 2.2 billion people – more than 15 per cent of the world’s population – are estimated by the United Nations to be either near or living in ‘multidimensional’ poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards.

“This is not an accident”, in Mr. Alston’s view. “It is the result of a series of deliberate and conscious decisions by key actors who have chosen to prioritize other goals. The wiping out of extreme poverty could readily be achieved if it was a genuine priority of governments”. 

In his forthcoming report to the General Assembly,* he calls on the international community to back the very widely endorsed joint United Nations Social Protection Floor Initiative that aims to guarantee basic income security and access to essential social services for all. He points out that one of the major obstacles to universal implementation of Social Protection Floors is the ambivalence of key international actors towards the concept, especially the World Bank, which remains reluctant to buy in to the Initiative in a meaningful way and has chosen instead to focus on ‘social safety nets’.

“Unless there is a change of heart on the Bank’s part, the development community will continue to be pushed to focus on so-called ‘social safety nets’, aimed at a limited number of the extreme poor,” says Mr. Alston.  “Poverty eradication will continue to be addressed as a matter of bureaucratically defined and designed welfare policy, rather than as a matter of human rights.”

(*) The promotion of Social Protection Floors will be the focus of the Special Rapporteur’s report to the General Assembly, to be presented on 24 October 2014. Read the report here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/newyork/Pages/HRreportstothe69thsessionGA.aspx

Philip Alston (Australia) took office as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in June 2014, following his appointment by the Human Rights Council. He is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.  Mr. Alston has previously

Philip Alston