10 December 2006 marks the 58th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. During the last 60 years many achievements have been made in the name of human rights, but considerable challenges still remains to be fulfilled in making human rights an irreversible reality in the world.

[...]the fact remains that around 3.2 billion people still live on less than $2 a day, which might be the correct estimate of todayís poverty. “Poverty is more than just a lack of income,” the UN has declared (A Human Rights Approach to Poverty Reduction Strategies, UNHCHR, 2002). “It is also the lack of health care, education, access to political participation, decent work and security.”

It is admirable that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has identified poverty as the gravest challenge of human rights today in her 2006 pre-Human Rights Day Statement. It goes as follows: “Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime. Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.”

What might be necessary for poverty eradication is to make sure first that no one dies of hunger. But this is far from the world reality today. Among the poor, overwhelming majority are young and children (both girls and boys), because the poor normally donít grow old. The second important task is to make sure that children go to school and get education, of course ensuring at least basic health care and housing for them as well as their parents. When they grow up, these children should be trained with the skills needed to acquire jobs or seek self-employment, in addition to facilities for those who are willing and capable of seeking higher education.

Read entire Asian Tribune article by Professor Laksiri Fernando

I highly recommend you follow the above link and read the entire article, not just the excerpt that I have included. In it, Professor Laksiri Fernando explores the statements of the UN, and expresses information about social inequality – such as that the world’s largest economies are corporations, not nations – and he explains the steps required to put an end to hunger and poverty.

Unfortunately, in the last 58 years since the declaration of human rights, hunger has continued to plague humanity. Innocent children suffer and often die in the agony of hunger and poverty. In fact, 16,000 children die of hunger every day. Even in the United States, 14 million children live in food insecure households. It seems the UN lacks the capability to solve this problem. The governments of the world have more interest in putting tax-dollars to military spending, going to the moon, enforcing drug laws, etc., rather than feeding and educating innocent children who suffer from preventable poverty and hunger, and preventable diseases.

Thus, if we want to solve these problems, we the people have to do it ourselves. We need to stop appealing to negligent governments, and instead create non-governmental organizations and solve these problems ourselves through voluntary solidarity. Our governments and politicians have no interest in solving our problems, so the only effective solution comes from grassroots activism. To that end, I highly recommend the book Globalize Liberation: How To Uproot The System And Build A Better World by David Solnit.

What do you think?

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Children suffering from Poverty