Poverty and human rights
Amnesty International has a new campaign on Poverty and Human Rights. The summary of the campaign carries a quote from Nelson Mandela:
"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life."
I have visited India and travelled across Africa so I have seen the poverty of many people in those places. It was 30 years ago that I was in India and more than 20 years ago that I was in Africa so maybe things have improved since? Sadly the poverty may not have improved and may even have worsened. We do need a better, stronger and more effective movement against poverty.
To be free of poverty should be a basic human right, certainly. Of course there are many other organisations working against poverty in the world, many of them with long experience. The Amnesty campaign aims to work with others to ensure that human rights are included in the fight against poverty.
Poverty is linked to affluence – it is the other side of the coin. If we have more than our fair share then others will have less. "The earth has enough for each man's need but not enough for each man's greed" said Gandhi.
Can a film end poverty? No, but it could help to end poverty if we watch it.
See another blog on this site, Latest News from the Human Rights Action Centre, with an entry on the Violence of Poverty and details of a film The End of Poverty? that had its UK premiere last Friday at Amnesty's London centre.
This film digs into the causes of the inequality between the rich North and the poor South, a story that has to go back centuries. One contributor is Joseph Stiglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank who has written on the harmful effects of globalisation. The film also features the views of Amartya Sen, an Indian economist who currently teaches at Harvard and has studied famine and the roots of poverty. Both Sen and Stiglitz are winners of Nobel prizes for Economics.
I am sure that we should all have the right to see The End of Poverty? without having to travel too far! Does anyone know of showings coming up?
Some Books on Poverty and Inequality
Over the years I have read books that delve into the reasons for the inequalities in the world and the action needed to help the poor. Some of them are now out of print and maybe in some ways out of date. However I think that they still hold a lot of important ideas. Susan George is one good author and another is Paul Harrison, who wrote Inside the Third World and The Third World Tomorrow, both published by Penguin. E F Schumacher wrote Small is Beautiful (beautifully subtitled A study of economics as if people mattered) and set up the Intermediate Technology Development Group, now re-named Practical Action.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.