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Persons living in extreme poverty

The promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right to education lie at the very heart of the fight against extreme poverty. Education is the principal means through which poor and marginalised individuals can break the vicious cycle of poverty and participate in society. However, education is not only an instrumental tool for economic growth; it is a fundamental human right (and therefore a legal entitlement) and should be recognised as such, even in the most deprived situations.

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The right to education has both constitutive and instrumental relevance to extreme poverty: in the first case, its violation - evidenced by illiteracy, low enrolment rates and drop-outs among the poorest - reinforces the vicious cycle of poverty, pushing it to the extremes; in the second, its fulfillment as a right facilitates and enhances the full enjoyment of other rights - such as the rights to health, work or freedom of expression - that are so important in the fight against poverty. This is why enhanced implementation measures to ensure fundamental education for persons living in extreme poverty need to become a priority in any strategy directed to both fighting extreme poverty and fully realizing the right to education.

We are supporting the work of the UN Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty and contributing to the consultations on the UN Draft Guiding Principles (DGPs) on extreme poverty and human rights. For more on this, please follow the links below:

Statement by the UN Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
(17 October 2010)

Right to Education Project's briefing on MDG1 - eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Right to Education Project's Joint Satement at the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council

Report on the UN DGPs by the UN Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, to the Human Rights Council, 15th Session

Right to Education Project's submission for the NGO consultation on the UN DGPs, Geneva, January 2010

Right to Education Project's paper on gender equality in education for girls and women in situations of extreme poverty, UNGEI Conference, Dakar, May 2010