« Making Human Rights work for people living in extreme poverty »
Letter to Friends around the World # 99

‘‘We must all work together to advance the rights of those living in extreme poverty and ensure that their voices are heard and their dignity respected.’’ Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights (2008-2014).

In 2012 the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.

These Guiding Principles are based on good practices collected from governments, national institutions, United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world.

They re-affirm that people living in extreme poverty are rights-holders and should be recognized as actors in the fight against poverty.

They spell out the States’ main obligations towards those living in extreme poverty, as well as steps that can be taken by international organizations, businesses, and civil society organizations to respect, protect, and fulfill their rights.

They are global in scope. They are applicable to all countries and regions at all stages of economic development, with due regard to national specificities.

They have been adopted by the Human Rights Council and therefore have the support of the international community of States.

Why a handbook for the implementation  of these Guiding Principles ?

The purpose of this handbook is to assist those working directly with people living in extreme poverty to understand the latter’s situation from a human rights perspective. It suggests actions that can be taken with local governments and other sectors of society to ensure that they are respected and protected.

It is intended for all local actors, both those who work for the State such as social workers, community organizers, teachers, or urban planners, as well as those who work for non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, or community associations.

This handbook is not a list of every action that can and should be taken. Instead it presents a guide to what can be done depending on the situation of the people concerned, and the issues that matter the most to them.

The handbook can be downloaded here

The Guiding Principles can be downloaded here