International Committee for October 17

The International Committee for October 17th was launched on October 17th, 2008.
The goals of the International Committee for October 17th are:

  • To promote the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which publicly unites all those who are striving together to end poverty and those who want to join them, whether at global, national or local levels.
  • To promote the observance of this International Day in ways that respect the original spirit and meaning of the day, first marked on October 17, 1987, as described by the words of Fr. Joseph Wresinski: “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
  • To promote and safeguard spaces where people from very different backgrounds can be together in a unique way, to struggle against extreme poverty and violations of human rights, and to strive towards peace for all.

Every year, the International Committee undertakes a process of consultation to determine a suitable theme to guide the commemoration of the International Day around the world. The International Committee issues an official Message, each year, to mark the annual observance of the International Day.

The composition of this committee is unique, with members coming from different backgrounds, including people with first-hand experience of extreme poverty, all committed together against poverty and exclusion:


  • Ms Aye Aye Win (Myanmar) Co-founder and former co-director of Dignity International


  • Mr. Justin Byamungu (Democratic Republic of Congo), former Tapori coordination team; Expert at the Department of Rural Development;

Honorary Members:

  • H.E. Mr. Cassam Uteem (Republic of Mauritius) President, International Movement ATD Fourth World; Former President, Mauritius (1992-2002)

Former members

  • Ms. Gemma Adaba (Trinidad and Tobago) International Consultant
  • M. Jean-Paul Baget (France), musician and pedagogue;
  • Ms. Huguette Bossot-Redegeld (France) International Movement ATD Fourth World
  • Ms. Djamila Bouguessa (France), ATD Fourth World;
  • M. Eugen Brand (Suisse), former general delegate of International Movement ATD Fourth World;
  • S.E. Miguel Angel Estrella (Argentine), pianist, Ambassador of Argentina to UNESCO;
  • S.E. Jean-Marc de La Sablière (France), former Ambassador of France;
  • Ms. Kazuko Ito (Japan), lawyer , general secretary of   Human Rights Now
  • Ms. Nina Lim-Yuson (Philippines) CEO and President/CEO of the Museo Pambata; Former president, International Movement ATD Fourth World
  • Mr. Donald Lee (Australia) Former senior economist with the United Nations
  • Mr. Titinga Pacéré, Esq.(Burkina Faso) Lawyer, writer and poet
  • Mr. Jacques Petidor (Haiti) Educator, Ministry of Education, Haiti
  • Professor Adam Seligman (Etats-Unis), Boston University;
  • Fr. Mario Serrano (Dominican Republic) National Director for Jesuit Social Ministries in the Dominican Republic
  • H.E. Mr. José Ramos-Horta (Timor-Leste), former President, Timor-Leste (2007–2012), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 1996;
  • Ms. Jyoti Tuladhar (Nepal), International Consultant on gender and human rights

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In 1992, with resolution 47/196, the General Assembly of the United Nations recognized October 17th, World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. In 2006, the General Assembly welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s Report A/61/308 on the Observance of the International Day. The report says that people living in poverty are the first defenders of human rights and are agents of change. It identifies lessons learned and ways to promote the mobilization of all stakeholders in the fight against poverty. The report emphasizes the importance of a human rights-based approach and the true participation of people living in extreme poverty. It also calls for the active participation of people living in extreme poverty.