EAPN: Change, Hope, and Justice – Handbook on a Rights-Based Approach to Poverty

Change, Hope & Justice is EAPN’s latest handbook which aims to strengthen members’ capacity to act against poverty and Human Rights violations. It is hoped that the Handbook will inspire organisations – but also Governments, National Human Rights Institutes and Equality Bodies, & public, private and not-for-profit service providers – to include Human Rights as the basis and aim of their work, as a new lens to look at poverty.

A Task Force mandated by the EU Inclusion Strategies Group to look into poverty as a Human Rights violation, finalised this Handbook earlier this year. It aims at elaborating on the relation between poverty and Human Rights in Europe, to deepen our understanding of poverty and social exclusion as a violation of Human Rights, and to strengthen capacity to act against poverty and Human Rights violations.

The Handbook aims to:

  • Understand and define how poverty and social exclusion can be treated as a Human Rights issue
  • Make this understanding operational in the fight against poverty and social exclusion and develop capacity to work on poverty and social exclusion as Human Rights issues
  • Gather examples of how Human Rights instruments have been used to combat poverty and social exclusion by the EAPN membership and other stakeholders
  • Strengthen capacity to contribute to the general discourse and debate about poverty as a breach of Human Rights, including to reports which Member States are required to submit to United Nations bodies and to European institutions
  • Explore the possibility of taking collective legal action against Governments for their failure to combat poverty and social exclusion, and hence guarantee Human Rights.

The fight against poverty and Human Rights are not two distinct projects, but projects that reinforce each other. A Human Rights-based approach means that norms and principles of Human Rights law should play a major role in tackling poverty and guide all public policies affecting persons living in poverty.

The Handbook is structured under four clear headings, plus an additional Annex containing useful references and more detail of Human Rights instruments and tools.

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