Call for Input: Right to participation of persons living in poverty
Participation of persons living in poverty
At the 23rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (June 2013), the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda, will submit a report on the human rights approach to participation of persons living in poverty in decisions that affect their lives.
The right to participate is reflected in numerous international instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 25), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (arts. 13.1 and 15.1), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (art. 7), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 12), the Declaration on the Right to Development (arts. 1.1, 2 and 8.2), the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (art. 5, 18, 19 and 41) and the Millennium Declaration (para. 25).
Poverty has many dimensions, extending far beyond a lack of income to include deprivation of choices, capabilities and power. Persons experiencing extreme poverty live in a vicious cycle of powerlessness, stigmatization, discrimination, exclusion and material deprivation. Lack of participation in decision-making is thus a defining feature and cause of poverty, rather than just its consequence.
Participation is an affirmation of the right of every individual and group to take part in the conduct of public affairs, but also a part of the solution to poverty and social exclusion. Anti-poverty and development policies are more likely to be effective, sustainable, inclusive and equitable if they are the result of participatory processes. Participatory methods are important tools for empowerment, accountability and ending the cycle of deprivation and dependency in favour of the autonomy and social inclusion of persons living in poverty.
The objectives of the report are: 1) to map the obstacles that people living in poverty face in meaningful and effective participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policy and development interventions; 2) provide guidelines on how to increase the participation of persons living in poverty in domestic policies as well as in international development.
While participation is considered one of the key principles of a human rights-based approach to development and poverty reduction, little attention has been given to the practical elements required to ensure meaningful and effective participation of persons living in poverty. The report will seek to give more substantive content to normative frameworks and key principles, drawing lessons from existing participatory processes undertaken by States at different levels, including by local governments, in a whole range of areas, including public service delivery, social housing, development interventions, welfare programmes, social protection and budgetary processes.
The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda, invites States, United Nations departments and agencies, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, individuals living in poverty and social exclusion and other relevant stakeholders to send contributions to the report.
Please submit contributions electronically to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights through firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience and no later than 14 December 2012.