October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2017 #EndPoverty, #GlobalGoals, #SDGs

Theme: “Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly, in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski—which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty—and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The Call to Action of October 17 that was launched thirty years ago is recorded in the text on the Commemorative Stone at the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris which was unveiled in the presence of 100,000 people: On the 17th of October 1987, defenders of human and civil rights from every continent gathered on this plaza. They paid homage to the victims of hunger, ignorance and violence. They affirmed their conviction that human misery is not inevitable. They pledged their solidarity with all people who, throughout the world, strive to eradicate extreme poverty.

“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.”

Father Joseph Wresinski
sdgs1-300x144The theme for this year’s commemoration reminds us of the importance of the values of dignity, solidarity and voice underscored in the Call to Action to fight to end poverty everywhere. These values are also evident in the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development which sets poverty eradication as the overarching objective and obligated all countries to end poverty in all forms, through strategies that guarantee the fulfilment of all human rights and ensure no one is left behind. The importance of public awareness, voice and the active participation of people living in extreme poverty is recognized both in the Agenda itself and in the process of consultations led by the United Nations that ensured the concerns and priorities of millions of people, especially those living in extreme poverty, were included and heard. The active participation of those living in extreme poverty will be critical to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals.
This year’s event is organized in partnership with the International Movement ATD Fourth World, the NGO Committee for Social Development and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, supported by the Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the United Nations.
In addition to the Commemoration in New York, celebrations of this International Day are being organized worldwide. Through resolution A/RES/47/196 adopted on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly invited all States to devote the Day to presenting and promoting concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.

HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR OCTOBER 17 Including “Message for the World Day for Overcoming Poverty & the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 17th October 2017”

Thirty years ago, on October 17, 1987, Father Joseph Wresinski launched his historic Call to Action against extreme poverty at the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris with his declaration that “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated.” This powerful message was ground-breaking because it asserted, for the first time, that poverty is not only about adequate income or meeting basic needs, but, more importantly, is also about being able to live a life in dignity and to enjoy basic human rights and freedoms. Joseph Wresinski believed, and demonstrated through his work with poor communities, that the way to break the vicious cycle of extreme poverty was to support people in their fight for their human rights.


Today, the influence of his vision is self-evident in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and the implementation of the rights-based approach to poverty eradication and development as a central plank of the United Nations’ development strategy. Every year, since the Call to Action in 1987, people from all walks of life around the world have come together on October 17 to observe the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty as an occasion to renew their commitment to answer the Call to Action and to pledge their solidarity with all people who strive to eradicate extreme poverty. This people-driven observance of a universal day for the eradication of poverty was recognized at the highest level when, in 1992, the United Nations declared October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Since then, the joint observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty, has actively promoted dialogue and understanding between people living in poverty and their communities, and with society at large.

These observances have enabled people living in extreme poverty to break the silence of poverty and to act in solidarity with those who aspire to be their partners. The theme “Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies” that was selected to mark this auspicious year, reminds us that peace is the universal goal of all people, especially for people living in poverty who are forced to suffer the pain of exclusion, discrimination, injustice and violence.

It also reminds us that only a world free from poverty will provide the sustainable foundation for building peaceful and inclusive societies. It further reminds us of the importance of the values of dignity, solidarity and voice, underscored in the Call to Action, in the struggle to end poverty everywhere. These important values are embedded in the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 which recognizes that strategies to overcome extreme poverty must guarantee the fulfilment of all human rights and ensure that no one is left behind.

Agenda 2030 also recognizes the importance of mobilizing all stakeholders in the fight against poverty and promoting the full and active participation of people living in extreme poverty. However, we must not be complacent because the successful implementation of the United Nations’ ambitious agenda depends not only on our active participation but also on our constant vigilance to ensure that world leaders live up to their commitments to end poverty in all its forms and to build peaceful societies.

So, I invite you to join us as we renew our commitment to answer the Call to Action* and to stand in solidarity with all people around the world who strive to eradicate extreme poverty.

Today, we renew our pledge that no one will be left behind.

Donald Lee President, International Committee for October 17

France international.committee@oct17.org


#GlobalGoals: 7 Reasons Why Ending Child Marriage Is PRIME beyond “International Day of the Girl Child”

On International Day of the Girl Child , India has just made a landmark ruling declaring that men who have sex with their underage wives can be classified as rapists.

It’s a big step in the fight for girls’ and women’s rights around the world. But in the fight to end child marriage, there’s still a long way to go.

Every year, 15 million girls are getting married before their 18th birthdays. More than 750 million women and girls who are alive today were married as children.

And globally, we’re still not doing enough end child marriage. According to UNICEF , at the current rate of progress in Africa — where child marriage is most common — it will still take us 100 years to put a stop to the obsolete practice. 

Child marriage is one of the greatest barriers to girls around the world, with a knock-on impact on so many aspects of their lives.

So, on International Day of the Girl Child — which aims to highlight and address the challenges that girls face around the world — here are seven reasons why we need to keep fighting to put an end to child marriage once and for all.

1. Because Gender Equality is a Global Goal…

In the UN’s list of the 17 Global Goals — which we need to achieve if we’re going to end extreme poverty by 2030 — gender equality is ranked No.5.

That means promoting girls’ empowerment and fulfilling their human rights, regardless of where they live, how old they are, or their economic situation.

Within Goal No.5 are a number of specific targets that break down exactly how to go about achieving gender equality worldwide. Target 5.3, for example, aims for the elimination of all harmful practices, including child marriage.

2. …And It Affects All These Other Goals Too

What’s more, achieving gender equality is consistently highlighted as being fundamental to achieving so many other of the Global Goals as well — at least eight of the 17, including ending climate change .

Campaigners say that ending child marriage will boost efforts towards achieving the Goals by improving access to education, encouraging economic growth, enhancing nutrition and food security, and improving maternal and child health.

More Read: Palestinian Girl, 14, Escapes Child Marriage After Being Sold to Man 20 Years Her Elder

“Child marriage is not just a gross human rights violation, it also prevents us from achieving many other development goals,” said Lakshmi Sundaram, executive director of Girls Not Brides, in a statement.

“How can we make progress on education, health, or gender equality, for example, when so many girls are married off, kept out of school, have children before they are ready, and are exposed to violence and exploitation?” she said.

If you’re still not convinced, Girls Not Brides has made this short animation explaining just how ending child marriage will make the world better for everyone.

3. It Stops Girls From Accessing Education

While both boys and girls experience child marriage, the number of boys who get married before 18 is about one-fifth the number of girls, so the impact of child marriage is predominantly felt by young girls.

When a young girl gets married, she is expected to drop out of school and she is not likely to return. As she becomes a wife and mother, her domestic duties become the focus of her life, as she is expected to care for her home, her husband, and her children.

Worldwide, over 60% of women aged between 20 and 24 who have no education were married before the age of 18, according to Girls Not Brides .

4. It Masks Violence and Exploitation

In some communities, as well as being an economic decision, child marriage can be seen as a way of protecting girls from the shame of having had pre-marital sex.

In a 2017 survey of laws in 73 countries , it was found rapists in at least nine countries could avoid punishment if they married their victim — including in Bahrain, Iraq, the Philippines, Tajikistan, and Tunisia, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Read more: India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights

Marital rape is legal in at least 10 of the countries , including Ghana, Lesotho, Oman, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. And in four of these, marital rape is allowed when the “wife” is a child.

Opponents of child marriage are hoping that India’s Supreme Court’s decision to criminalise sex with a child , even if the perpetrator is married to the child, will help to challenge these global practices.

But commentators are concerned the Indian ruling will be extremely difficult to enforce, particularly in poor, rural communities, where the child’s parents are more likely to have consented to the marriage.

5. It Keeps Happening Even Where It’s Illegal

At least 20,000 girls around the world are being married off illegally every day, according to a report by the World Bank and Save the Children .

That’s 7.5 million girls who, every year, become child brides in countries where early marriage is actually banned. More than a fifth of these marriages take place in West and Central Africa — more than 1.7 million each year. 

Bearing in mind the practice is so often entrenched in community traditions and religious customs, policing it and enforcing the law is a very real challenge.

6. It’s Deadly 

A chilling statistic from children’s rights organisation Plan International says 70,000 girls die in labour every year because their bodies aren’t ready for childbirth.

In fact, in many low and middle income countries, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19.

And according to the International Women’s Health Coalition , girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s, and they face a higher risk of pregnancy-related injuries.

As a result of sexual violence and poor access to health care, girls who are victims of child marriage are also more likely to contract HIV/AIDS.

7. It Impacts the Next Generation Too

As well as negatively impacting the girls who become child brides, early marriage also has a negative effect on the generation to come.

Infants who are born to mothers who are just children or adolescents themselves have a higher risk of being stillborn or dying soon after birth.

Shockingly, the children of child brides are 60% more likely to die in the first year of life than those born to mothers older than 19.

If the infants survive, they are more likely to have had a low birth weight, which can have a long-term impact on their health and their physical and cognitive development.

Owing to a child bride’s limited access to education or economic opportunities, she and her family are also more likely to be unhealthy, and spend their lives in poverty.

The Mordi Ibe Foundation campaigns for equal rights for women and girls around the world. You can read more here .

Girl Child: “Daughters of India”…India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights

It’s a landmark change to India’s marital rape laws

India’s top court has ruled that sex with a child is always rape, quashing a clause that allowed men to have sex with underage girls if they were married to them.
The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Wednesday closed a legal loophole that has historically allowed perpetrators of rape to escape punishment.
While the age of consent in India is 18, there was a clause in India’s rape laws that lowered the age of consent to 15 if the girl was married.
But the court has now ruled that the clause is “discriminatory, capricious, and arbitrary”, and “violates the bodily integrity of the girl child”.

“This is a landmark judgement that corrects a historical wrong against girls,” Vikram Srivastava, the founder of campaign group Independent Thought, told the BBC . “How could marriage be used as a criteria to discriminate against girls?”

Girls under 18 will now be able to report their husbands for rape, as long as they lodge a complaint within a year of it happening.

“The judgement is a step forward in protecting girls from abuse and exploitation, irrespective of their marital status,” Divya Srinivasan, from women’s rights organisation Equality Now .

“This positive decision by the Supreme Court will hopefully encourage the Indian government to protect all women by removing the marital rape exemption in all cases,” she said.

Commentators say the ruling will be difficult to enforce in the country, however, due to the high rates of child marriage.

India is ranked 10th in the world for child marriage, with an estimated 47% of girls married by the time they turn 18, according to the campaigning organisation Girls Not Brides

Girls are often seen as an economic burden, particularly in poor, rural areas, and many parents marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security.

There is also a shame associated with pre-marital sex that can lead to girls’ parents forcing them to marry their rapists, according to news agency AFP .

Child marriage is a serious barrier for the girls involved, often leading to them dropping out of school to focus on their domestic responsibilities, or suffering health problems from giving birth at a young age. 
India’s rape laws have, prior to this ruling, specifically excluded married couples. Men can currently still have non-consensual sex with their wives without it being classed as rape.
While Wednesday’s ruling represents progress, there are still steps to be taken in criminalising marital rape.

A challenge to the laws on marital rape is currently going through the Indian courts, reported AFP , but the government has said it opposes criminalising marital rape as it would damage the institution of marriage.

The government has said that criminalising marital rape could “destabilise” marriages and could be used by wives as “an easy tool for harassing the husbands”.

The Mordi Ibe Foundation campaigns to achieve the Global Goals, including Goal No.5 for gender equality. You can read more here .

Girls & Women: Palestinian Girl, 14, Escapes Child Marriage After Being Sold to Man 20 Years Her Elder

She was sold into child marriage for $2,800 by her abusive father

A 14-year-old girl from the Palestinian city of Hebron has escaped child marriage and sought refuge with Israeli border police after being sold to an Israeli Bedouin man 20 years her elder, Haaretz reports.

The girl, whose name was not released, is currently in hiding as the Justice Ministry’s anti-human trafficking unit investigates her case, according to reports.

The girl was reportedly sold for NIS 10,000, or about $2,800, according to Times of Israel. Her father also routinely abused her, according to relatives.

“The girl grew up in a bad place for children, she grew up in a harsh environment,” a relative told Haaretz, a left-leaning Israeli magazine. “Her father beat her all her life and afterwards sold her like property to a husband, who also beat her and did terrible things to her.”

The Times of Israel reports that the man has been accused of rape, as well as physical and emotional abuse, and his case has been remanded to a magistrate court in Beersheba. His attorney has said the man believed the marriage to be “legitimate”  and “was shown a presentation according to which she was 17-years-old.”

The legal age for marriage in Israel was raised from 17 to 18 in 2014, according to Haaretz. Still,  around 4,500 Israelis are married before the age of 18 each year, 90% of whom are girls, according to an op-ed penned in the Jerusalem Post by Ruth Halperin-Kaddari.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has reported that roughly one in four girls in Gaza are married before the age of 18.

Global Citizen campaigns for governments around the world to address child marriage and sexual violence against women and girls. The advocacy group Girls Not Brides estimates that there could be 1.2 million women married before the age of 18 by 2050; currently 700 million women were married as children. You can take action here.

According to Dina Dominitz, head of the Israeli justice ministry’s anti-human trafficking unit, Israel provides care to between 50 and 80 trafficking victims each year. And for now, the justice ministry will have one more girl to care for.

“She’s a brave girl. She’s been through so much in her life and has seen more that she should have,” the relative said. “The time has come for her to have an decent life.”


HUMAN RIGHTS: Activists Celebrate Botswana’s Transgender Court Victory. #LGBTQ+ #LGBT #Trans

GABARONE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A Botswana transgender man has won a 10-year battle to be legally recognised as male in a landmark ruling that could boost minority rights in the conservative nation.

Botswana High Court last week ordered the government to change the gender marker on the man’s identity card from female to male to respect his constitutional rights.

“This is an immense relief,” the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a statement.

“I am hopeful that other persons who find themselves in a similar situation will be dealt with in a more respectful manner when they apply for new identity cards.”

Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa said in his judgment that the government had violated the plaintiff’s rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equality and freedom from discrimination and inhumane and degrading treatment.

Experts say up to 1 percent of the world’s population is transgender – men and women who feel they have been born with the wrong body and the wrong gender.

The 2 million-strong southern African nation has been reluctant to recognise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Botswana, as in many African countries, and punishable by up to seven years in jail. Members of the community are often stripped, harassed and thrown out of their homes.

The ruling raises hopes that Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, a transgender woman, will also win her case to have her gender marker amended. It is due to be heard in December.

“This is great victory for the transgender community because many more have been fighting the gender marker battle for years,” said Tshiamo Rantao, the man’s lawyer, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Surely the judge who will be presiding over Kgositau’s case will have to refer to this judgment.”

The case was supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which handles rights cases across the region.

Kgositau, who heads the South Africa-based advocacy Gender Dynamix, said in court papers that she identified as female from a young age.

She said that her identity card, marked male, caused her emotional distress and increased her vulnerability to abuse and violence.

Her mother, siblings and relatives submitted statements in her support saying that “her family has embraced her and loved her as a woman”.

An LGBT advocacy group won another ground-breaking case in Botswana in 2014, when the High Court allowed it to register.

The Mordi Ibe Foundation campaigns for equal access to healthcare and the rights of all people


RECAP: Remembering (Dis)ability on “Disability Awareness Day” (D.A.D)

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Focus “Disabilities”

There are more than one billion people with physical and mental disabilities in the world who must overcome challenges every day. One of those challenges is encountering other people. As a society, we are all different and must recognize the importance of acceptance.

Disability awareness is very important when it comes to breaking stereotypes and overcoming preconceptions regarding disabilities. Fortunately, there are many people interested in getting involved with disability awareness and often wonder how they can take part in making a change.

Why is Disability Awareness Important?

Millions of people with disabilities are likely to spend a lifetime of unemployment and dependency and about 74.6 million people have some type of physical disability in the U.S. (Alone) Unfortunately, their employment and economic situation has not improved since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law.

Bringing the topic of disability down to Africa, its an even sadder situation as people living with disabilities are oft treated as outcast and ostracized to say the least, our society is filled with prejudice and stereotypes towards disabled people.

it is very important to learn about disabilities,  and taking part in awareness activities and events is a step towards breaking these barriers and promoting change.

What Does Disability Awareness Mean?

Understanding that disability discrimination is unlawful is not enough anymore. A third of people entering the workforce today will become disabled by the time they retire. Disability Awareness means to educate people about disabilities, but also provide them with the knowledge on how to carry out tasks regarding disabilities. People can learn about disability awareness through classes, training courses, or even from disabled people. Learning acceptance is important but employers, businesses, and organizations must also understand compliance with the Nigerian constitution on the rights of disabled persons (if it even exist). Ultimately as an employer, it is important to differentiate between what is good practice and what is not.

How to Promote Disability Awareness

The first step in promoting disability awareness is education. Unfortunately, there is a preconception in our society regarding disability. Sometimes there is avoidance, fear or discomfort that surrounds it. Some people often wonder what if it were them who was disabled. Disability Awareness Day is on July (12) or 16 and Disability Employment Awareness Month is every year in October, while Disability Awareness Week takes place every year towards the end of May (spring) and the beginning of June. These annual awareness dates are set in order to promote disabilities and educate people about them and the Americans with Disabilities Act; However in Nigeria these events rarely get the attention/recognition they deserve.

Though it’s a great idea to get involved with awareness activities on these days, you can promote disability awareness year-round beyond the month of july. You can organize a disability awareness event on your school’s campus that educates students about disabilities. There are also many organizations and groups worth getting involved with that promote disability awareness. The organization RespectAbility helps reshape the attitudes of people with disabilities so that there is inclusion for everyone. Several schools also have awareness groups which put on events and educate the student body.

How to Teach Disability Awareness

In the U.S for instance, more and more educators and trainers are working disability awareness into their teaching curriculums. It’s important that those teaching about disabilities and the laws also understand them. Additionally, parents are also teaching their kids about people with disabilities. How do we make sure we are providing students and children with the right information? The main things we should be teaching them is the importance of inclusion, understanding, and acceptance. Not everyone is the same.

Employers, too, must understand the laws surrounding disabilities. Disability discrimination is unlawful and employers and companies need to understand this. Again referencing the United states, there is a portion of the Americans with Disabilities Act titled “Your Responsibilities as an Employer” which highlights which employment practices are covered under the act, who is protected, and who is covered. Employers can educate themselves by researching and reading this portion of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but also take classes and training regarding it… In this regard, we urge the Nigerian government and the african diaspora to take a cue and work towards fair and equal policy formulation and implementation that works entirely for “all” not just some.

Taking the time to research, participate and enrol in courses about disability awareness not only promotes education, but also allows people to share their understanding about disabilities, the laws, and importance of acceptance.


PHOTO CREDIT: Google Images