Demand Dignity!


Human Rights = Less Poverty

The global economic crisis is driving millions more people into poverty and placing them at increased risk of human rights violations such as food insecurity or forced eviction. The world urgently needs a different kind of response and a different kind of leadership if we are to reverse this dramatic escalation of human misery.

This is a human rights crisis. Billions of people are suffering from insecurity, injustice and indignity around the world. The solution can only be found through a coordinated and concerted response rooted in human rights and the rule of law. This requires strong leadership.

Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity campaign aims to end global poverty by working to strengthen recognition and protection of the rights of the poor. The campaign will demand the leadership, accountability and transparency that are essential to end the human rights violations that keep people poor.

This is a campaign about all rights. It is the combined abuse of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that drives and deepens poverty. By demanding dignity we are demanding that all states adopt and implement the laws, policies and practices that will end deprivation, insecurity, exclusion, and voicelessness.

Participation and involvement in the decisions that impact on our lives are essential to human rights. By including all rights holders in policy making governments are at once creating a framework for accountability, transparency, inclusion and empowerment. These are the prerequisites to ending poverty.

The Demand Dignity Campaign will put rights at the centre of poverty eradication, and make rights protection efforts work for all people. The stories and solutions that people living in poverty have to tell will be the centrepiece of this worldwide mobilisation. Together we will amplify their voices and demand effective responses from political leaders.

Global demand to the superpowers

The two superpowers, the United States and China, both accept only part of the human rights agenda relevant to ending poverty. China has ratified the major treaty reaffirming economic, social and cultural rights, but not the treaty covering civil and political rights, and the US the reverse. The decision not to ratify in both cases is deliberate and has ramifications that extend well beyond their national jurisdictions.

US failure to embrace economic, social and cultural rights results directly in a domestic health system that skews maternal health care away from the poorest communities. The US is the only country that votes against the right to food resolution annually in the UN. The ‘global gag rule’, removed by President Obama this year, had profoundly negative implications for women’s rights in Africa.

The Uyghur community and other minority groups in China face repression of their civil and political rights. China’s indifference facilitates the Cambodian government’s practice of widespread forced evictions, and provides the cover that sustains human rights violations in Sudan and Ethiopia.

This global and local mockery of human rights by the G2 is perhaps the most potent and urgent example of how global leadership must change. Amnesty International is calling on the government of China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and on the US government to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. By holding the superpowers to account we are starting at the top, demanding a new kind of leadership to end poverty, demanding dignity.

Global calls

We have selected three initial calls to focus the Demand Dignity campaign on egregious concerns, illustrating that human rights are a solution to poverty. By focussing on these issues we seek to highlight how a combined campaign for accountability, access and active participation can end poverty. Read more…

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