E

UNITED
NATIONS

Economic and Social
Council

Distr.
GENERAL
E/C.12/2001/10
10 May 2001
Original: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
Twenty-fifth session
Geneva, 23 April-11 May 2001
Agenda item 5

SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ARISING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS: POVERTY AND THE INTERNATIONAL
COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

STATEMENT ADOPTED BY THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS ON 4 MAY 2001
1.
In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established that poverty is a human
rights issue.1 This view has been reaffirmed on numerous occasions by various United Nations
bodies, including the General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights.2 Although the term
is not explicitly used in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,3
poverty is one of the recurring themes in the Covenant and has always been one of the central
concerns of the Committee. The rights to work, an adequate standard of living, housing, food,
health and education, which lie at the heart of the Covenant, have a direct and immediate bearing
upon the eradication of poverty. Moreover, the issue of poverty frequently arises in the course of
the Committee’s constructive dialogue with States parties. In the light of experience gained over
many years, including the examination of numerous States parties’ reports, the Committee holds
the firm view that poverty constitutes a denial of human rights.
2.
Accordingly, the Committee warmly welcomes the renewed commitment of a number of
States and international organizations to the policy objective of poverty eradication, as well as
related policy goals such as the elimination of social exclusion. The Committee regrets,
however, that the human rights dimensions of poverty eradication policies rarely receive the
attention they deserve. This neglect is especially regrettable because a human rights approach to
poverty can reinforce anti-poverty strategies and make them more effective.
GE.01-42011 (E)

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