From a human rights perspective, individuals are rights-holders that can make legitimate claims, and States and other actors are duty-bearers that are responsible and can be held accountable for their acts or omissions. Therefore, a focus on rights and obligations helps to identify who is entitled to make claims and who has a duty to take action, empowering those who have legitimate claims to rights.
This regulates the exercise of power and ensures that those who wield power are answerable to those who do not. In this regard, accountability, the essential principle of human rights, has the potential to empower people living in poverty and facilitate their visibility, ensuring that they are at the centre of public policies on poverty eradication not as passive beneficiaries, but as rights holders that can exercise their entitlements by holding responsible those behind such policies. As a result, the human rights approach has the potential to improve the effectiveness of poverty reduction efforts, and to ensure that progress is equitable and sustainable.
Photo credit: “Participating in the puppetry training, one woman encouraged the other widows: ‘Be strong!'” by UN Women (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).
Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)
A reference for the development of social security systems, Convention No. 102 is the flagship of the up-to-date social security Conventions since it is deemed to embody the internationally accepted definition of the very principle of social security. Convention No. 102 is unique for both its conceptual formulation of social security, and the guidance it provides for […]
Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)
Recommendation No. 202 is the first international instrument to offer guidance to countries to close social security gaps and progressively achieve universal protection through the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive social security systems. To this aim, the Recommendation calls for (1) the implementation, as a priority, of social protection floors (SPF) as a fundamental element […]
The Global Rise of Social Cash Transfers
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) proclaimed the equality of all human beings in dignity and rights. The right to social security, however, has been taken more seriously only since the 2000s, through calls for ‘Social Security for All’ and ‘Leaving no-one behind’. The book investigates a major response, social cash transfers to the […]
How to Design Inclusive Social Protection Systems
This policy guide, developed by ESCAP together with Development Pathways, explains how to design inclusive and robust social protection systems and focuses on tax-financed income security. It explains why universal schemes are better at reaching the poor than targeted schemes, and what policy options to consider when designing inclusive schemes. The guide is the second […]
Time for Equality: The role of social protection in reducing inequalities in Asia and the Pacific
This report provides evidence that social protection is an effective instrument to reduce inequalities, and by so doing, contributes to the integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It examines in particular the inequalities faced by children, persons of working-age, older persons and in relation to access to affordable health care […]
Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights
These Principles are the first global policy guidelines focused specifically on the human rights of people living in poverty. They are intended for use by governments to ensure that public policies, including poverty eradication efforts, reach the poorest members of society, respect and uphold their rights, and take into account the significant social, cultural, economic and […]
The shame of poverty: global perspectives
The Shame of Poverty, edited by Robert Walker, presents comparable evidence from the seven countries, challenges the conventional thinking that separates discussion of poverty found in the Global North from that prevalent in the Global South. It demonstrates that the emotional experience of poverty, with its attendant social and psychological costs, is surprisingly similar despite […]
The Human Rights Approach to Social Protection
This report sets out to elaborate and promote a human rights framework for social protection, identifying best practices and disseminating lessons learned. It provides an in-depth analysis of the application of central human rights principles of the human rights framework – equality and non-discrimination (including accessibility, acceptability, affordability and the incorporation of the gender perspective), participation, transparency […]
From Undeserving Poor To Rights Holder : A Human Rights Perspective On Social Protection Systems
Summary: Over recent years, social protection strategies have rapidly gained striking political support and widespread acceptance in development discourse and practice. However, although development actors generally acknowledge that human rights should play an essential role in poverty reduction, there has been a lack of deep analysis of the implications of human rights obligations for social […]