Eradicating poverty is the greatest social challenge facing the world. Impoverished people and communities often exist on the margins of their societies, having little voice in decisions which affect them in the most direct ways. Faced with a lack of food, shelter, and access to essential services, people living in extreme poverty experience severe human rights violations.
Every year on 17 October, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated throughout the world to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in those where under-development threatens social cohesion and rule of law. This year, the theme focuses on "Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace" and, in addition to the Commemoration in New York, other events are being organized worldwide and can be viewed at http://www.overcomingpoverty.org.
The International Day plays an important role in raising public awareness and mobilizing all stakeholders in the fight against poverty. This year's event is organized in partnership with the International Movement ATD Fourth World, the NGO Sub-committee for the Eradication of Poverty and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, supported by the Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the United Nations.
IDEP is a call for everyone to gather with people living in extreme poverty to exchange information, as equal partners, on initiatives that focus on vulnerable and excluded populations, and on their active participation in poverty eradication. Only by acting in solidarity with people enduring extreme poverty can we begin to address poverty as a violation of human rights, and work toward its global eradication.
By Andrea Young