World: People living in poverty must be part of the solution

WHEN: 17 October 2008 – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty WHAT: Amnesty International supporters take part in global events against poverty and inequality WHERE: Worldwide including United Nations Headquarters (New York), Australia, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, India, Switzerland, Turkey, UK

People living in poverty are far too frequently excluded from discussions about how to improve their lives, Amnesty International said today on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The organization said that the vicious cycle of poverty and human rights abuse could only be broken if people living in poverty were able to speak out and be heard. It urged governments to adopt policies that enable people living in poverty to be part of decision-making, as well as better analyzing how human rights violations drive and deepen poverty.

Widney Brown, Amnesty International’s Director of International Law and Policy, said: “A key focus of this year’s International Day is ensuring that people living in poverty are at the centre of discussions about solutions. Too often decisions are made in which the people whose lives are most impacted are not even consulted, which makes the eradication of poverty ultimately less possible.

“States need to dismantle barriers which obstruct people’s access to education, health care, food, clean water and sanitation. They must also address discrimination against people who endure human rights violations and who have the least access to justice, including indigenous people, women, children and people with disabilities,” she said.

On Oct 17, at the United Nations: Widney Brown will take part in a major discussion on poverty at the UN in New York, which is set to be webcast on www.un.org

Amnesty International has produced a film about Michael Nyangi, from the Kibera slum area in Kenya. Michael runs the Lomoro Microfinance organization, which works within six different slum areas in Nairobi. A qualified accountant, he created Lomoro five years ago when he was 23. It now has 150 members and helps people to start small, income-generating projects. Michael also lives in Kibera, one of the biggest slum areas, which is home to 1.5 million people.

The film is set to be shown at the United Nations in New York on 17 October as part of events to commemorate the day, and so his views, and those of his neighbours, can better be heard.

On International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, thousands of Amnesty International supporters will take part in worldwide protests (all times local): BELGIUM What: Public gathering with speeches and testimonies + distribution of leaflets/posters at mainline stations. Where: EU Parliament Building, close to the Palace of Luxembourg When: 18:00 Contact: [email protected]

CANADA What: Public forum with NGO speakers on poverty and human rights Where: Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street, Vancouver When: 8.30 – 15.30 Contact: [email protected] (to reserve a place)

SWITZERLAND What: Public gathering with testimonies, live music and soup Where: Heiliggeistkirche, Berne When: 11.30 – 13.30 Contact: [email protected]

TURKEY What: Street exhibition and public gathering Where: Yuksel Caddesi Insan Haklari Aniti onu (Human Rights Monument), Kizilay, Ankara When: 18:00 Contact: [email protected]

UNITED KINGDOM What: UK Premiere of ‘The End of Poverty? Think Again.’ Where: The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London When: 18.30 Contact: [email protected]

Other Amnesty International supporters will also take part in the ‘Stand Up Against Poverty’ gatherings organized by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. The Stand Up event encourages millions of people to simultaneously stand up at the same time in protest against poverty and inequality. This year over one per cent of the population is expected to take part.

AUSTRALIA What: Public gathering and speeches including a ‘Stand Up Against Poverty’ protest Where: South Australia/Nth Territory, AI Australia Action Centre, 80 South Terrace, Adelaide When: 17.30 Contact: [email protected] Tasmania contact: [email protected] New South Wales contact: [email protected]

MEXICO What: Public gathering and speeches including a ‘Stand Up Against Poverty’ protest Where: Hemiciclo a Juarez, Alameda Central When: 11.00 Contact: [email protected]

INDIA What: Take a Pledge, Take Action public gathering Where: V.P House Lawns, Rafi Marg near the Parliament House, New Delhi When: 11.30 Contact: [email protected]

Background To arrange an interview with Widney Brown, in New York, please contact the Amnesty International Press Office on +44 207 413 5566.

For more information on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and to see the film about Michael, see www.amnesty.org

This year, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the focus will be on Human Rights and the Dignity of People Living in Poverty.

Amnesty International is taking part in the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty as part of the Global Campaign against Poverty (GCAP) and with the anti-poverty organization ATD Fourth World.

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