Sur - Revista Internacional de Direitos Humanos
Print version ISSN 1806-6445
COSTA, Fernanda Doz. Poverty and human rights: From rhetoric to legal obligations a critical account of conceptual frameworks. Sur [online]. 2008, vol.4Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1806-6445.
There is still lack of conceptual clarity in the notion of poverty as a violation of human rights. This is a problem for human rights practitioners that take the indivisibility of human rights seriously, understand the centrality of poverty in the plight of many human rights victims and want to work professionally, through binding internationally recognized human rights obligations, in the fight against poverty. This paper tries to clarify the conceptual gap. It presents a critical summary of the most important attempts to conceptually clarify the connection between poverty and human rights from an international human rights law perspective. It analyzes different conceptual frameworks, their strengths and weaknesses. The paper identifies three different models for linking both concepts: (1) theories that conceive poverty as per se a violation of human rights; (2) theories that conceptualize poverty as a violation of one specific human right, namely the right to an adequate standard of living or to development; and (3) theories that conceive poverty as a cause or consequence of human rights violations. The paper concludes that the third approach is the most useful in the current state of development of international human rights law and jurisprudence, but that the second approach has a lot of potential to push the poverty and human rights agenda forward and it should be developed further.
Keywords : Poverty; Human rights; Development; Adequate standard of living; Legal obligations.