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Human Rights and National Poverty Reduction Strategies: Conceptual framework for human rights analysis of poverty reduction strategies and reviews of Guatemala, Liberia and Nepal


  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

    (The New School)


Poverty is an important human rights concern. Human rights are claims that people have for social arrangements to guarantee their substantive freedoms; poverty reflects failures in these social arrangements and in the actions of duty bearers. It is the poorest people in society --- those with low incomes, education, insecure health, and political power --- who are most vulnerable to severe abuse of their human rights in multiple areas. At the same time, it is lack of human rights protection that leaves people vulnerable to falling into economic and social destitution. Poverty is both a cause and consequence of human rights abuse and lack of protection. Yet human rights agendas are rarely explicitly built into national strategies for poverty reduction. This paper is a consolidated report of a study commissioned by OHCHR on developing a conceptual framework for integrating human rights into national strategies for poverty reduction and identifying operational priorities. It builds on and takes further the 2003 OHCHR conceptual framework on human rights and poverty reduction strategies authored by Hunt, Nowak and Osmani. It incorporates a human rights analysis of poverty reduction policies of Guatemala, Liberia and Nepal. The paper argues that human rights perspectives contribute new approaches in normative, analytical and instrumental dimensions of poverty reduction strategies. First, it brings a strong and explicit normative framework legitimized by the backing of international law that emphasize principles of equality, non-discrimination and concern for the most vulnerable, and a social justice agenda to policy priorities. Second, human rights perspectives introduce new analyses to the causes of poverty - focussing on institutionalized discrimination, lack of political voice, institutional failures to guarantee human rights including weak protection for civil and political rights. Third, human rights have instrumental (not just intrinsic) value for poverty reduction; human rights empower poor people through the power of legal protection for human rights --- civil, political, economic, social and cultural --- of poor people as well as through the power of ideas that legitimize the claims of poor people to surmount obstacles in their lives.

Suggested Citation

  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, 2007. "Human Rights and National Poverty Reduction Strategies: Conceptual framework for human rights analysis of poverty reduction strategies and reviews of Guatemala, Liberia and Nepal," Economic Rights Working Papers 2, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:2

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