International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a United Nations (UN) day observed on 17th October every year to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.
It is a day of reflection, advocacy, and action against poverty. Poverty is usually defined by an income bracket, a number that often obscures the many hardships it entails. Around the world, people living in poverty often struggle to access clean water, safe sanitation systems, food, education, electricity, the internet, employment opportunities, and so much more.
The theme for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2021 is “Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet”.
History of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
The United Nations officially recognized the day in 1992, and it encourages participation in its objectives to bring attention to the poor and the daily obstacles they face. 17 October was the date chosen in memory of the call of a French priest, Joseph Wresinski (founder ATD Fourth World), who on 17 October 1987 launched the first-ever tribute to the victims of poverty and called to rescue the most impoverished individuals.
Celebrated at the UN for the first time in 1993, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty aims at echoing the voices of the poorest people and isolated populations and at promoting change leading to a society based on human dignity and access to human rights for all.
ATD Fourth World was founded in 1957 by Father Joseph Wresinski and families who lived in a camp for homeless people in the Paris region. They sparked a movement that gives priority to the poorest people and brings together activists with first-hand experience of poverty, members of an international volunteer corps who work long-term in solidarity with them, and a wide range of friends and supporters, who take action together to foster lasting change in society.
Fr. Wresinski left a commemorative stone in the plaza with the following invitation:
Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated.
To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.
In 1992, nearly five years after Fr. Wresinski’s death, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Global participation has increased consistently every year since its inception.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”.
The crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and is aggravating this reality. However, a world free of poverty is possible, and it is about what we choose to value, what we prioritize, and the political choices we make. People who live in poverty have the essential knowledge to find the right solutions and are on the front line in the fight against poverty.
Join the #EndPoverty global campaign
Everyone can join the campaign on social media by using the hashtag #EndPoverty and promoting the call to action to connect with people from around the world who have joined the fight to overcome poverty. Use #EndPoverty to share messages about the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty via social media.
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