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A Rights-Based Approach to Removing Poverty: Eradicating Poverty as Realizing Human Rights
Arjun Sengupta
Poverty, especially extreme poverty, is the worst form of degradation of human dignity: a condition of absence of the most basic human rights. But is poverty really a violation of human rights? This paper takes up the discussion of poverty eradication, focusing on extreme poverty through a human rights perspective. Expanding on Sen’s “capability approach”, extreme poverty is identified as a composite of extreme forms of income poverty, human development poverty and social exclusion, the eradication of which may be regarded as a human rights entitlement in each society. The paper, by invoking the human rights discourse within an international programme for poverty eradication, aims at elevating the status of development policy, identified as capable of removing poverty, to a plan of action in terms of defined obligations and identification of agents who should be responsible for carrying out these duties, which can be implemented by different nations, domestically and through international cooperation. If a State is unwilling to adopt and implement that programme, it can be considered as violating human rights.

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