Sunday, October 25, 2009
Irene Khan _ Unheard Truth_ Book Tour
Ending poverty has become the rallying cry of international organizations, political and business leaders, philanthropists and rock stars. But it is almost certainly doomed to fail if it is driven solely by the imperative of boosting economic growth through investment, trade, new technology or foreign aid, claims Irene Khan in the Unheard Truth.
Khan argues with passion, backed up by analysis, that fighting poverty is about fighting deprivation, exclusion, insecurity and powerlessness. People living in poverty lack material resources but that more than that, they lack control over their own lives. To tackle global poverty, we need to focus on the human rights abuses that drive poverty and keep people poor. Giving people a say in their own future, and demanding that they be treated with dignity and respect for their rights is the way to make progress.
Through personal reflection and case-studies, Khan shows why poverty is first and foremost not a problem of economics but of human rights. As the numbers of people living in poverty swell to upwards of 2 billion, she argues that poverty is the world's worst human rights crisis. Slums are growing at an alarming rate condemning a billion people to live in dismal condition and with the constant threat of forced eviction, the commodity boom is pushing oil and mining activities into lawless zones impoverishing hundreds and thousands of people, and more than half a million women are dying every year due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, 99% of these are in the developing world, because of discrimination and denial of essential health care.
By raising the issue of rights, the Unheard Truth is not pointing fingers but providing a formula for sustainable and equitable solutions, and giving people the means to change the power imbalance that keeps them poor.