Final Draft of the guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights, submitted by the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona

The Final Draft of the guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights, submitted by the special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona is available in all six languages of the United Nations.  French, Spanish and English uploaded here for your convenience.

Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights made a statement at the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council on 12 September 2012. Link to the full statement is attached here.  English only                                            DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12503&LangID=E

Some quotations from the statement made by Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona on September 12, 2012
“The Guiding Principles aim to be a tool to guide the design and implementation of social policies and poverty eradication efforts, in a manner that respects, protects and fulfills the human rights of persons living in extreme poverty.
These Principles do not create new obligations in regard to human rights. They simply represent a concise guide on how to fulfill existing obligations in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies to overcome poverty.
It is important to record the long history of these Guiding Principles. They date back to 2001, when the Commission on Human Rights, recognising the necessity of formulating principles on the application of human rights norms in the context of the fight against extreme poverty … The document is relevant for all countries, at all stages of development.”

The GSIJP Office has been contributing to this process since 2001. Good Shepherd Sisters responded to the consultations and submitted very valuable information in 2011. The following units contributed: Colombia (4), Mexico (2) New York (2), France and Central America. Hedwig and Mags in the Geneva Office attended meetings when requested and kept us updated.

A good history of the process is annexed at the end of the document – but in English only. One of the first processes I was engaged in was reviewing an initial draft document with other members of the NGO Sub-Committee for Poverty Eradication. A note I have to this day reads, ‘we must find words to substitute for ‘the poor’. The term agreed was ‘persons living in poverty’. This term is used 120 times in the final draft. We struggled with ‘Poverty as a human condition’ and suggested alternative language ‘Poverty is a dehumanizing condition’ but this did not find its way into the document – see paragraph No 2 a term used by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2001. Another phrase that stand out for me as innovative at the time was to eliminate ‘the accumulation of wealth and poverty’. The phrase ‘eliminate the accumulation of wealth’ is not found in the final draft.

  • The final draft has 108 paragraphs, 30 pages
  • 14 specific rights are elaborated. (Paragraphs 62 – 90).
  • If you want to discuss poverty read the preface Paragraphs 1-10.
  • The Objectives of the Guiding Principles on extreme poverty and human rights are outlined in paragraphs 11 -13.
  • There are 8 foundational principles.
  • There are three references to implementation of the social protection – see paragraphs 30, 54 and 86 (b).
  • It is imperative at national level that you bring this document to your local government representatives and government ministers.

Extreme poverty is not inevitable means that the tools for ending it are within reach. A human rights approach provides a framework for the long-term eradication of extreme poverty based on the recognition of persons living in extreme poverty as rights holders and agents of change.”  Paragraph 6.