CLC Participates in 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council

The centre’s Socio-Economic Rights Project recently participated in two events involving the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights during in Geneva.

13 June 2013: The Community Law Centre participated in two side events involving the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights during the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 and 4 June 2013.

On 3 June the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona inconjunction with the governments of Finland, Brazil and Albania organised a side event on Social Protection in the Post 2105 Agenda. During this event, Ms Carmona noted that social protection is one of the important means of poverty reduction across the world, particularly in developing countries.

She commended the recently released report of the UN High Level Panel on Post (Eminent Persons Report) 2015 Agenda for including social protection as one of the means of combating poverty. However, she observes that the Eminent Persons’ Report could have adopted a stronger rights-based language to emphasise the importance of social protection as a tool for poverty reduction.

The Special Rapporteur noted that social protection should not been seen as a form of to vulnerable and marginalised groups, but rather it should be seen as a human rights obligation of states essential in addressing economic inequality and poverty in society. She calls for the establishment of a Global Fund on Social Protection to address endemic poverty worldwide. Other panellists echo UN Special Rapporteur by stating that social protection is an important avenue to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in society. In particular, some of the panellists noted that International Labour Organization adopted Recommendation 202 of 2012 provides a great opportunity for states to combat poverty and address the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups in society.

The second side event on 4 June -a panel discussion on Extreme Poverty and active Participation: Breaking the Vicious Circle of Extreme Poverty- was jointly organised by Association Points-Coeur, Francicans International (FI), ATD Quart Monde and Global Hope Network International (GHNI) in conjunction with the Permanent Missions of Belgium, Chile, Djibouti, France, Morocco, Peru and Uruguay.

In her keynote address, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights emphasised the need for government across the world to involve people living in poverty in decision-making that affect their lives. Referring to her recently released report on ‘The Right to Participation of People Living in Poverty’ she noted that participation is one of the key elements of a rights-based approach to addressing poverty.

According to the Special Rapporteur, participation not only provides an opportunity for people living in poverty to be active agent in their own destiny, it is also intrinsically linked with empowerment, which is a key human rights goal and principle. She notes further that participation helps in limiting the capacity of elites to impose their will on individuals and groups who may not have the means to defend their interests.

CLC’s representative at these side events, Dr Ebenezer Durojaye has noted that the Centre’s participation at these events is significant in that it provides another opportunity to deepen its collaboration with the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and to contribute to debate and discussion on various issues relating to the post 2015 agenda.

About: The Community Law Centre
The Community Law Centre is founded on the belief that constitutional orders must promote good governance, socio-economic development and the protection of the rights of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Through engaged research, engaged teaching and advocacy, the Centre supports processes in South Africa and the region to build inclusive, resilient states that are accountable to citizens and responsive to human rights. The Centre aims to be the leading think tank on multi-level governance and human rights in Africa.

Editorial contacts:
Jacob Nthoiwa
Information Manager, Community Law Centre
University of the Western Cape
+27 21 959 2950