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Diplomats say poverty reduction key to promoting human rights


Geneva   –       Senior diplomats from several countries have stressed the importance of poverty reduction in protection and promotion of human rights.

They voiced their opinions on the sidelines of the UN session in Geneva during the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The session id titled “The Eradication of Poverty and the Promotion, Protection and Fulfillment of All Human Rights, Including the Right to Development.”

Yu Jianhua, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN office at Geneva, said that ending poverty is the primary goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and an important way to promote and protect human rights.

“Nearly 800 million people globally are still struggling in poverty, and in Africa this number is 400 million,” he said.

Yu added that poverty, along with the diseases and social conflicts it breeds, pose grave challenges to human rights protection in developing countries.

According to Yu, in the past five years alone, more than 68 million people have grown out of poverty in China, accounting for over 70 per cent of the world’s total and making China one of the first to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty.

“China has seen continued progress in early-age care, education, employment, medical and old-age care, housing, and social care for the vulnerable, creating yet another miracle in the course of global human rights development,” he said.

Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, permanent representative of South Africa to the UN office at Geneva, said that as former South African president Nelson Mandela had said, overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, “it is an act of justice, it is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and the right to a decent life.”

“The beautiful thing about working with our colleagues from China is that they understand our narratives, and the articulation of agreements that carry important things for developing countries,” she said.

“Let’s not forget, freedom from poverty is a Human Right too,” said Farukh Amil, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN office in Geneva.

“We believe that we can build an inclusive society free of hunger and poverty by ensuring ‘human dignity’ which requires human development,” he said.

“Balanced development of all human rights including right to development is important.

“However, poverty alleviation must be given prime importance due to its direct impact on the realization of all other human rights,” he stressed.

Pedro Cuesta, permanent representative of Cuba to the UN office at Geneva, said that without achievements of the sustainable development goals, particularly in the eradication of poverty, economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights will not be able to be fully implemented.

Some 80 diplomats from more than 30 countries, including Nigeria, Russia, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Singapore, Algeria, Venezuela and Argentina, as well as representatives of relevant international organizations, participated in the event, which was co-sponsored by China and South Africa.

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