This calendar has been prepared by ATD with the members of the Irish 17 October Committee. It reports on two major events in 2014: the visit to Dublin in May of the International Committee for the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the annual UN Day 2014 observance throughout the country. More information on the work of the International Committee are available at www.overcomingpoverty.org.
In 2015, a number of high level summits will formulate new approaches and new goals to #EndPoverty, protect the planet and limit the #ClimateChange. These events provide all of us with an opportunity to reshape our priorities, and to re-think our place in the world. The motto “In 2015, let’s make every day, an #EndPoverty day!” is a good messaged to start the year!
This Calendar has been launched by the Irish 17 October Committee on the 2014 International Human Solidarity Day (20 December). Read more about this day here!
Bridging the Gap is a charity based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow with over 15 years experience of working with people from different backgrounds and cultures. They want
to support families, create inclusive communities and inspire young people.
To give children the best possible start in life we support parents by providing places for
their children to meet, play and learn. Our pre-baby and toddler groups are called Rowdy Rascals. We also offer free family communication courses.
Bridging the Gap passionately believes that you can build and strengthen communities
by bringing people together. At our weekly drop-in called Big Thursdays, people are
guaranteed a warm welcome and fun activities. These include a men’s group, children’s ‘Big Messy Play’ and singing time. You will also find a fruit and vegetable shop and
lively discussion groups. An open lunch is provided where people take turns to cook their
own cultural dishes.
Read more in our latest “Letter to friends around the world”
On Friday 11 Dec, the European Parliament’s main political factions agreed on new intergroups for the current mandate (2014-2019). Intergroups have no legislative power, but are formed to promote exchange of views – on subjects as diverse as animal rights or youth – and are often used as a single point of contact by lobbyists.
Among the 28 groups, the continutation of the Intergroup on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights was validated. This Intergroup – chaired between 2009 and 2014 by Sylvie Goulard (The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE – FR) – works to draw policy makers’ attention to the importance and urgency of the struggle against poverty. The increase in poverty and inequality cannot be tolerated in a Europe that was created to improve the living conditions of the European peoples.
This Intergroup collaborates with the ATD International (who led to his creation during the 2nd mandate of the European Parliament, 30 years ago) and other anti-poverty networks and NGOs (EAPN, FEANSTA,…).
Transcending political boundaries, it brings usually t together more than 40 Members of the European Parliament from different backgrounds like in the last mandate, Jürgen Klute, representing the Unified European Left Group (GUE), DE, Verónica Lope Fontagné, from the European People’s Party (PPE), ES, Silvia Costa, from the Socialist and Democrat Group (S&D), IT, and also Jean Lambert, from the Green party, UK.
Contact in the EP is MEP Sylvie Goulard: firstname.lastname@example.org
The list of 28 groups is due to be validated on 11 December by the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament’s political factions. This is an increase on the 27 groups of the previous mandate.
The proposed intergroups for 2014 to 2019 are as follows:
- Ageing and intergenerational solidarity
- Anti-racism & Diversity
- Sustainable Hunting, Biodiversity, Countryside Activities and Forests
- Children’s Rights
- Climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development
- Public Goods and Services
- Creative Industries
- Digital Agenda
- Extreme poverty and human rights
- Development of European Tourism, Cultural Heritage, Ways of Saint James and other European Cultural Routes
- Freedom of Religion, Belief and Religious Tolerance
- Integrity – Transparency, Anti-corruption and Organised Crime
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights – LGBT
- Long-term investment and reindustrialisation
- Rural, Mountainous and Sparsely-Populated Regions
- Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastlines
- SME “small and medium-sized enterprise”
- Sky and Space
- Social Economy
- Trade Unions
- Traditional National Minorities, Constitutional Regions and Regional Languages
- Urban Issues
- Welfare and Protection of Animals
- Western Sahara
- Wine, Spirits and Food Quality
- Youth Issues
More about Intergroups here.
To mark the 2014 Human Rights Day, ATD members will gather with social justice and human rights activists on the 10th December from 5pm to 5.20pm around the Human Rights and Poverty Stone near the Famine Statues and remember friends who died this year after a life living in chronic poverty and times of sleeping rough.
At this commemoration, ATD will launch the project “Let’s put Human Rights on our Christmas List”. From this December 2014 to March 2015, ATD volunteers and community groups from the North Inner City will look at how to implement at grass-root level the United Nation Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty. Workshops will be organised in peer support groups, early school leavers training centres and adult education projects.
The UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights are the first internationally agreed text to stress that not only poverty, but also extreme poverty exists in every country in the world, and it is both a cause and a consequence of multiple human rights violations. The guidelines firmly anchor the struggle to end poverty in the framework of respect for human rights. Following their adoption in 2012, the task is now to disseminate and promote them, from grassroots to Government level, and to have them put into action.
The Housing crisis, the Right 2 Water demonstrations, the Constitutional Convention recommendation to include Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish Constitution are converging issues. They tell us it is the right time to have genuine conversations at community level on Human Rights. The 2012 UN Guiding Principles give us a challenging new framework. ATD’s concern is to enable people with long term experience of being left behind, to participate in the discussion and to make their contribution.
The project “Let’s put Human Rights on our Christmas List” will contribute to the design of an international handbook to make the guidelines more accessible to all those who are working directly with people who live in poverty. It will also impact the work of the Irish Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Initiative*. This coalition of NGOs calls on the Government to accept the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention and to prepare a referendum allowing the citizens to decide whether in the future, the Irish State should be obliged to make decisions that prioritise the fundamental dignity of people. The ATD project “Let’s put Human Rights on our Christmas List” is supported by IMPACT’s Joe Lucey Small Grants Fund.
*The Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) Rights Initiative is a network of organisations and individuals with a shared belief that strengthening the protection of ESC rights would play a fundamental role in the creation of a more just, inclusive and socially sustainable society. The aim of the Initiative is to ensure that ESC rights are made legally enforceable in the Constitution. Members of the Initiative are among others: Age Action, Aiden Lloyd, Amnesty International Ireland, All Together in Dignity Ireland, Children Rights Alliance, Community Action Network, Equality and Rights Alliance, Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC), Focus Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation, Mercy Law Centre, Community Law and Mediation, Pavee Point, Peter McVerry Trust.
On 23 February 2014, the Irish Constitutional Convention recommended to its Government, by an overwhelming majority of 85 per cent, that ESC rights be given enhanced protection in the Constitution. Eight months later the Government has yet to even respond to the Convention’s recommendation.
ATD with the other members of ESC Rights Initiative is calling on the Government to accept the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention to strengthen protection of ESC rights in Ireland and allow the Irish people to decide whether future Irish governments should be obliged to make decisions that prioritise the fundamental dignity of people living within the state.
Marking the 25 year anniversary of Ireland’s ratification of the International Covenant of Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) on 8th December 2014, Irish social justice and human rights NGOs call on the Government to accept the Constitutional Convention’s recommendation to protect these rights in the Constitution. 25 years on, the Government has yet to incorporate basic human rights such as housing, health, education and just conditions of work into Irish law. In 1999 and 2002 the UN body that oversees the ICESCR recommended to Ireland that it incorporate the treaty into the Constitution. In June 2015 the UN will again examine Ireland’s record on ESC rights.
There is a growing, worldwide, recognition and acceptance of the need to protect ESC rights like housing, health, education and an adequate standard of living. 133 countries enshrine the right to healthcare and 106 constitutions protect the right to work. Of the 28 EU member states, 26 make some form of constitutional provision for ESC rights. But, Ireland continues to fall behind in protection of these fundamental human rights.
The call is made by the ESC Rights Initiative, a network of prominent NGOs as Age Action, Amnesty International Ireland, All Together in Dignity Ireland (ATD), Children Rights Alliance, Community Action Network, Equality and Rights Alliance, Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC), Focus Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation, Mercy Law Centre, Community Law and Mediation, Pavee Point and the Peter McVerry Trust.
Speaking at the launch of the call, Colm O’Gorman, Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “Rather than a cause for celebration, this anniversary marks a quarter of a century of inaction by successive Irish Governments on this issue. Ireland may have ratified the ICESCR but nothing has been done to incorporate this treaty into domestic law therefore fundamental rights like the right to health and housing remain unprotected.”
Noeline Blackwell of the Free Legal Aid Centre (FLAC), said “From health to housing to water, we can see unprecedented levels of public anger about how state services are being funded and delivered. We believe that inadequate legal protection of ESC rights plays a large part in these problems. Constitutional rights could play a large part in the solutions. Without explicit legal protections, people’s basic human rights on issues like health, housing and education are unlikely to be properly considered in deciding state measures like budget cuts or public charges.”
Peter McVerry said: “If the right to housing were in Irish law, it would enable homeless people to move into their own accommodation much more quickly and free up beds for others living on the streets. We know that providing a legal right to housing will work because the Child Care Act 1991 effectively eliminated homelessness amongst children. I believe that providing such a right to homeless adults in the Constitution would similarly transform the situation for them. Without the right to housing people experiencing homelessness will remain at the mercy of political expediency, where resources will be allocated to issues that are considered a higher priority.”
On the right to health, Cliona Loughnane from the Irish Heart Foundation, said: “We just need to look at the care people receive after a stroke to see how Ireland is failing to uphold the right to health. In 2014, it is still the case that where a stroke survivor lives will dictate whether they receive rehabilitation after leaving hospital. Without this rehab, a person may be forced to live with avoidable or unduly severe disabilities, or to spend the rest of their lives in a nursing home, far short of the health they could have enjoyed with proper support. Recognition of the right to health in the Constitution would ensure that the State deliver on its obligations for all people, regardless of where they happen to live.”
The Mercy Law Centre, that assists homeless persons, and Community Law & Mediation, a Law Centre that assists individuals experiencing disadvantage, stated jointly: “In our day-to-day work in the law centres, we see first-hand the effects of the lack of protection of ESC rights in domestic Irish law. Making them enforceable in Irish law would place a fundamentally important floor of rights in place for everyone living in Ireland.”
Bríd O’Brien from the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed said: “A key element of Article 6 of the ICESCR, which recognises the right to work, is the right to gain a living from work which people freely choose or accept. Recognition of this right in the Constitution would require the State to create and maintain decent employment and provide unemployed people with excellent supports to find and access such work.”
More information on the Constitutional Convention available here.
Discover the “case studies” prepared by the ESC Rights Initiative.
On December 16 at 3pm Dublin time (10am NY time) ATD International will be hosting an online panel discussion about the humanitarian aid system and whether it fails to reach the most vulnerable. Participants include Liz Gibbons of Harvard University, Mike Delany of Oxfam USA, Dayna Brown of CDA Collaborative, Sean Healy of MSF UK, and Diana Skelton of ATD International.
During the first two weeks of December, people from all over the world will gather in Lima Peru for the most recent round of negotiations for a global treaty on Climate Change.
If governments fail to combat climate change with people living in poverty, it is very likely that response measures will work against these vulnerable communities. We cannot ignore the problem and their plight.
The problems created by climate change are impacting all countries, particularly people living in poverty within those countries. Thus as Parties move into the final stages of negotiations for the new climate agreement, ATD will continue to work to ensure that agreements take into account the most vulnerable communities, particularly those living in poverty in all countries.
During his term as President of the Republic of Mauritius (1992-2002), Cassam Uteem was the first Head of State to champion the recognition by the United Nations of October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (adopted in December 1992). Later, Mr. Uteem served as President of the International Committee for October 17 from 2008 to 2012. His ardent commitment to see an end to poverty gave rise to a longterm friendship with the International Movement ATD Fourth World.
ATD Fourth World is honored that Mr. Cassam Uteem agreed to chair its international Board for the coming years. In receiving the appointment, Mr. Uteem gave this remark (See Press Release): “I am very touched, flattered and honored by the friendship you have shown me, the trust you have placed in me, and privilege you have given me in asking me to chair the Board of Directors of the International Movement ATD Fourth World. I couldn’t imagine turning away from what I consider to be a ’solemn duty’ – that of advancing further and faster, if possible, the objectives of ATD Fourth World, especially reducing poverty and respecting the dignity and human rights of people in poverty around the world.”
Read interview with Mr. Cassam Uteem
To support its work, the Board also approved the nomination of Ms. Janet Nelson as Vice President of the International Movement ATD Fourth World.Ms. Nelson is a former civil servant with UNICEF which she joined out of a desire to fight discrimination. She has represented ATD Fourth World at the United Nations in Geneva for many years, particularly advancing the struggle for the adoption and practical implementation of the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.
On behalf of the international Board and the entire organization, ATD Fourth World’s International Leadership Team thanked previous Board President (2006-2014) Nina Lim Yuson for her unwavering commitment to families in extreme poverty, and her intense work all these years to move forward ATD Fourth World’s major priorities, notably as well, the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. Ms. Yuson never ceased to visit teams and meet with different members of ATD Fourth World to better understand and support their involvement. At every visit, members felt an affinity and proximity. “My adventure with ATD helped me discover little by little this movement, the depth of the commitment of people.”