NGO Consultation on the Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Questionnaire

NGO Consultation on the Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme
Poverty and Human Rights
Report (HRC/15/41) of the Independent Expert on the question of human
rights and extreme poverty on the draft guiding principles on extreme
poverty and human rights
Submitted and completed by: Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the
Good Shepherd (Philippines), NGO in Special Consultative Status with
Ad II: Rationale for the development of guiding principles on human rights and
extreme poverty
Based on the report of the independent expert (HRC/15/41), what would be the
added value of guiding principles on human rights and extreme poverty?
To live in extreme poverty is a violation of one’s inherent human dignity.
To emphasize the essential principle that basic human rights are
promoted and upheld when extreme poverty is eradicated. The
eradication of extreme poverty is at the heart of human rights agenda.
The victims of extreme poverty are the prime obligation and
responsibility of the State including the international community especially
financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank that lend to poor
indebted countries.
Those living in extreme poverty when given the right support systems and
space should participate in determining solutions and policies to their
dehumanizing and oppressive situation. Aside from the assistance of
NGOs and individuals, the State should create an empowering
environment where people can claim their rights and participate in
creating sustainable sources of food, livelihood and income.
Poverty is a human made situation and it can be overcomed with political
will of the State leaders and policies promote the basic rights to food,
education, health and housing.
Ad III: Conceptual framework
Considering that the majority of those living in extreme poverty are children,
should the guiding principles have a dedicated section on this specific group
or should this issue be cutting across the text? (paragraph 19 of the report);
and what about other specific groups?
While stressing that children are the majority who suffer extreme poverty,
girls suffer multiple levels of oppression and exploitation especially in
cultures (e.g. India, Bangladesh) where the girl is discriminated against or is
only secondary to boys.
Other specific groups should include indigenous peoples living in developing
countries where they are victims of land grabbing by national and foreign
corporations of mining, logging, and agriculture. For the indigenous peoples,
the land is life, the only source of livelihood, medicine and food since many
indigenous peoples are neglected by the government of basic services
including education. Thus the land is the only source of living.
Refugees and internally displaced persons, victims of calamities and war
live in extreme poverty because not only are they stateless sometimes but
girls and women living in camps are abused, raped and exploited.
Ad IV: Overview of the main underlying and reinforcing deprivations faced by
persons living in extreme poverty
Would you identify other underlying and reinforcing deprivations and obstacles
faced by persons in extreme poverty, in addition to the ones included in this
section of the report?
21. We suggest that this item should be explicated more… ‘ …a result of
actions and omissions by those in charge of State policies and other powerful
economic entities. Due to structural – often unaddressed – social, political,
economic and cultural inequalities, it is transmitted from one generation to
another. As noted by special procedures mandate holders, ‘poverty is often a
cause as well as a result of a complex system of human rights denials in which
violations of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights interact and
mutually and reinforce each other with devastating effects.
To add the following items:
a. State policies and practices like corruption of governments.
b. Onerous debt problem of third world countries. Hence, this should be
cancelled. The Philippines alone spends 46% of its annual national
budget in paying its foreign debt to the IMF- World Bank such that basic
social services like water, health and education are left un provided.
c. Powerful economic entities like the IMF -World Bank impose economic
policies like trade liberalization, decentralization and privatization that are
oppressive to the economy of the developing countries.
Ad V: Proposal for improving the draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and
human rights
Are there any important aspects or issues missing in the annotated outline for
guiding principles proposed in this section of the report?
The answers are sufficient and comprehensive but stress and include the
following specific points.
Section 1: Overarching human rights principles
Is the list of human rights principles in this section (headings A to G) sufficiently
comprehensive or should any other principles be included in the guiding
principles on extreme poverty and human rights?
A. Human Dignity should be the essence and core of all State policies and
B. Individual Autonomy: to recognize the collective right and autonomy of
the indigenous peoples and their ancestral lands.
C. Equality and Non Discrimination : sufficient
D. Advancement of Women: Women be given the right to own and develop
land property. In some countries women are deprived the right to own
land so they are destitute when a husband dies.
E. Ensuring public participation: That marginalized peoples and groups be
given the space to participate in decision making including national / local
elections and parliamentary procedures. It is usually the rich and the
educated who can run for position in government since they have the
money, the education, the right connections, and the machinery.
F. Ensuring transparency and access to information : this can include the
salaries and assets of public officials to ensure no corruption while in
office. Also all policies and programs of the government be subject to
public scrutiny and evaluation.
G. Ensuring accountability and the right to an effective remedy: That the
poor, the stateless, the refugees, and the illiterate be given priority to
free legal aid to ensure that their human rights are upheld and protected.
Section 2: Overarching policy guidelines
Is the list of ‘overarching policy guidelines’ in this section (headings H to K)
sufficiently comprehensive or should any other overarching policy guidelines
be included in the guiding principles?
The list is sufficient and comprehensive
H. Ensuring that persons living in extreme poverty are identified and reached
by public policies, programs and interventions
People living in extreme poverty are prioritized. We suggest that States should
have a poverty map to identify the places and sectors which need most
States and international financial institutions should take full
responsibility in poverty reduction programs and the empowerment of the poor.
Because corruption of government funds is rampant in developing countries
there has to be a strict monitoring mechanisms of those delivering the programs
of poverty alleviation.
Indebted countries should have their loans be cancelled because the poor did
not benefit but the corrupt government and officials.
Ensuring that facilities, goods and services required for the enjoyment of
human rights are accessible, available and of good quality
We suggest that the national patrimony of the country be developed and
enjoyed first by its own people and not by the foreign corporations e.g. mining
and oil companies operating in the countries of the poor.
Ensuring international assistance and cooperation
International assistance is necessary in terms of technology transfer and in
times of disaster and calamities. However corruption is rampant that monitoring
of these assistance should be done by international partner agencies to ensure
that these assistance benefitted the targeted population.
K. Ensuring that third parties, including other States, international organizations
and transnational corporations do not undermine the human rights of
persons living in extreme poverty
International and transnational corporations such as mining, oil companies have
largely impoverished developing countries. Their production schemes have
ravaged and destroyed the environment of many communities that left them
more poor and hungry. Compensation to victims of such abuse be given in
terms of reparation goods and developmental aid.
Exploitation of resources by transnational corporations should be stopped when
it undermines the rights for people living in poverty. Wherever there is
damage, lives are endangered or human rights are violated by transnational
corporations, they should compensate for it.
There is a need for a change of model, the world needs to move away from
profit driven consumerism to a more caring, civilized mode of being,
resulting in appropriate care for earth and all her peoples.
Section 3: Specific rights-based obligations
Is the list of rights identified in this section sufficiently comprehensive (headings
L to W) or any other human rights should be also reflected the guiding principles
 To put emphasis on the inalienable rights of the tribal, marginalized communities
religious, linguistic minorities should be protected. Autonomy to minorities and tribal
communities should be respected, recognized and all International Trade
Agreements like GATT-WTO, IMF.World Bank should remove their conditionalities
attached with food and services.
Are there any important aspects or issues missing in the recommendations on
bold proposed under each of the specific rights-based obligations in this section
of the report?
L-O: comprehensive and sufficient
P. Right to an adequate standard of living, including access to food
 To include land for the landless, stopping forcible land acquisition by transnational
 GATT-WTO policies affect developing farmers to the right to food security. Trade
liberalization and mono cropping make poor economies and malnourished citizenry.
Policies in the food market are not conducive to fair market, prices for laborers, nor
protecting the sustainability of the capital, or ensuring access to food and nutrition.
Q. Right to safe drinking water and sanitation
 The privatization of water should be considered a human right violation. Water is basic
to human existence like air.
 Mining and other resource-extracting corporations should be held accountable for its
irreparable damage to the living conditions and livelihood of peoples.
Right to adequate housing, security of tenure and protection from forced
 Priority be given to people living in the squatter areas, refugees and widows where
they are most marginalized by society.
S. sufficient
V. Right to education
 Special consideration to those who live in slums, in refugee camps, indigenous
communities and among orphans and abandoned children.
W. sufficient