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Order says don't blur distinction between poverty and extreme poverty

Franciscans International has urged the United Nations to give explicit attention to the issue of extreme poverty and not relegate it to a discussion on poverty in general.

Representing his order's office at the UN, Br Yves Soudan told the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights that "extreme poverty is a specific issue which calls for a specific response".

Br Soudan, a professor at the Human Rights Institute in Lyons, said, "The main issue is to reaffirm the human dignity of persons by enabling them and their communities to exercise their economic, political, social, civil and cultural rights."

He pointed out that extreme poverty - as distinguished from poverty in general - means people increasingly become unable to exercise such rights over a long period of time, sometimes for several generations.

Br Soudan urged states to initiate community-empowering measures that "respect the inherent dignity of individuals and their communities." He said extreme poverty "should not be limited to short-term remedies" aimed at "basic survival", but must be tackled by "comprehensive action".

The Sub-Commission is made of up 26 independent experts who form an advisory body to the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Franciscans International

Franciscans International
UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion
and Protection of Human Rights

14 Aug 2003