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Poverty and Human Rights: Building on the Capability Approach


  • Siddiqur Rahman Osmani


This paper explores the conceptual connections between poverty and human rights through the lens of the capability approach. The concept of capability can be seen as the bridge that links poverty with human rights because it plays a foundational role in the characterisation of both poverty and human rights. Once this common foundation is noted, poverty can be defined as denial of human rights. Furthermore, the capability approach also helps us to address the question of whether just any denial of human right should count as poverty or whether there should be some restriction in this regard admitting only certain cases of denial of human of rights into the domain but not others. The capability perspective suggests that the domain should indeed be restricted in some well-defined ways. Finally, the paper argues that such restriction of domain need not be inconsistent with the principle of indivisibility of human rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Siddiqur Rahman Osmani, 2005. "Poverty and Human Rights: Building on the Capability Approach," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 205-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:6:y:2005:i:2:p:205-219
    DOI: 10.1080/14649880500120541

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    Cited by:

    1. Sabina Alkire and José Manuel Roche, 2011. "Beyond Headcount: Measures that Reflect the Breadth and Components of Child Poverty," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp045, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    2. Paul Shaffer, 2008. "New Thinking on Poverty: Implications for Globalisation and Poverty Reduction Strategies," Working Papers 65, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.

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    Poverty; Human rights; Capability;


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