Adopt human rights-based approach to eradicate poverty, Suhakam says

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KUCHING, Oct 17: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) urges the federal government to intensify efforts to eradicate poverty by adopting a human rights-based approach.

This, it said, should include active participation of vulnerable communities in decisions that affect them; government commitment to fulfill its obligations as duty-bearers, ensuring principles of non-discrimination and equality are met; and empowering every individual to claim and exercise their rights.

“The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights had reported in 2019, that there are at least 110 different social support programmes spread across more than 20 ministries and agencies in Malaysia.

“Whilst acknowledging the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to eradicate extreme poverty through the National Recovery Plan and the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), it is crucial to note that a more coordinated strategy is needed to ensure that all the plans can be delivered effectively,” it said in a statement in conjunction with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today.

Suhakam observed that in Malaysia, poverty persists among those who are economically and socially vulnerable including daily wage workers, contract workers, single parents, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities, among others.

It noted that the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the lack of a comprehensive social protection system has exacerbated the insecurity and vulnerability of these groups, and their inability to protect against interruption or loss of income due to the movement restrictions enforced during the pandemic.

“It was reported that the number of poor households increased from 405,400 in 2019 to 639,800, a year later.

“According to the Department of Statistics, the true impact of the pandemic would be better evidenced by the Household Income and Basic Amenities (HIS/BA) Survey which would be conducted in 2022,” it added.

Suhakam also urged all stakeholders to play their role towards the realisation and protection of the rights of the vulnerable communities and to ensure that they are able to enjoy, at the very least, the minimum standards of a dignified life set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). — DayakDaily