Gender Based Violence Women's Health

MDGs exclude the poorest of the poor

Written by Health-e News

Amnesty International has accused governments failing to make a concerted effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of abusing the human rights of the poorest in society.

The group’€™s criticism comes ahead of a United Nations Summit later this month that will see heads of states meeting to review the progress on MDGs.

According to Amnesty International over a billion people living in informal settlements continue to be excluded in the MDG plans. Amnesty said the goals on informal dwellings focused on improving the lives of only a 100-million informal dwellers.

Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty said: ‘€œUnless world leaders agree to take urgent steps to uphold the human rights of people living in poverty, the poorest and most disadvantaged people around the world will continue to be left out of the MDGs.’€

 He said people needed to be able to hold governments accountable.

‘€œBut language alone is not enough, people must be able to hold governments accountable when they fail to uphold human rights. They should be able to challenge corruption or neglect through courts and regulatory bodies to ensure governments actually fulfil their obligations,’€ said Shetty.

Amnesty argued that while women made up an estimated 70 percent of those living in poverty the MDGs failed to address the discrimination faced by women in accessing food, water, sanitation and housing.   Rampant discriminatory policies, laws and practises that reinforce gender-based violence while undermining the MDG progress were not being addressed.

 According to the group several countries continued to carry out mass evictions forcing informal dwellers into dire poverty.

They said over 200 000 shack dwellers in a town in Nigeria faced being evicted. This was part of a plan by authorities to demolish over 40 informal settlements in the area – a demolition that could see thousands losing their homes.

Kenya was identified as another country whose policies ignored the needs of women living in informal dwellings. In Kenya women living in informal settlements risk being violated when they attempt to use communal toilets especially at night.

Amnesty suggested that lack of effective policing to prevent, investigate and eventually punish gender-based violence meant that most crimes against women went unpunished.

Despite committing to MDGs, Nicaragua, in Central America outlawed abortion in all circumstances resulting in massive unwanted pregnancies ‘€“ those resulting from rape and incest included.

Amnesty said effective methods to hold governments accountable could strengthen MDG efforts.

Shetty said: A global promise to tackle poverty cannot leave the poorest and most vulnerable people behind.’€

 ‘€œBut that is what is happening and will continue to happen unless world leaders commit to take the action necessary to achieve real change, and to uphold the human rights of the poor. This Summit is the last chance, failure here and now all but guarantees failure in 2015.’€  he said.

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Health-e News

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