Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A human rights approach is the only way to overcome the current crisis, argues the new Social Watch Report

The unusual combination of financial crisis, food crisis, energy and climate crisis requires a new approach based on human rights, argues the international Social Watch coalition in its 2008 report, launched during the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Doha. Next 10 December, as the report remembers the 60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be commemorated and the title of the new report is, precisely, “Rights is the Answer”. The report documents how governments are falling short in their commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve gender equity through the testimony of civil society groups in 59 countries. Its main message is that the multiple crises currently affecting the world require a “rights-based approach” and provides examples on how the current financial architecture has ignored or openly violated those rights and triggered spiralling inequity all around the world.

The growing income inequalities both within and between countries spurred by capital flight, tax evasion, and privatization have slowed down the progress on key social indicators to a near halt over the last two decades. According to the Social Watch calculations, universal compliance with the Millennium Development Goals is now an impossible feat, if the world governments maintain a “business as usual” attitude. The grassroots activists and civil society analysts from around the world that contributed to the report show how the pervasiveness of extreme poverty and gender inequity is intimately linked to the immediate effects of the current triple crisis and to longer term structural issues ingrained in the global financial architecture. The report documents the widespread, haphazard implementation of policies promoting economic liberalization and deregulation having provoked the curtailment of peoples´ economic and social rights around the globe. That liberalization and deregulation now curtail the ability of many governments to comply with their international commitments to end poverty and achieve gender equality.

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