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UNESCOPoverty is a violation of Human Rights
   Poverty and Human Rights: UNESCO's Anti-Poverty Projects

Access to Justice
"Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Paris 1948, art. 6)
Access to JusticePoor people are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and abuses by governmental authorities and private individuals. The most important tool to defend themselves against these abuses is court protection. Usually, for economic or other reasons poor people lack the capability to obtain court protection. Even if free legal aid is available, they may lack the necessary information and self-confidence to seek redress through the courts. Thus, States should actively promote the free access of poor people to courts, tribunals and other dispute resolution mechanisms as a remedy against human rights violations.

All persons are equal before the courts and tribunals and enjoy certain procedural guarantees in civil and criminal trials. Equality before the courts means, in particular, that all persons must be granted, a right of equal access to an independent and impartial court or tribunal for the determination of civil disputes or criminal charges without discrimination. The most important procedural guarantee in both civil and criminal proceedings is the right to a fair and public hearing.

Among the procedural guarantees explicitly cited as needs of poor people the interests of justice, is the Government’s positive obligation to provide competent legal counsel free of charge if an accused in a criminal trial does not have sufficient means to pay for such legal assistance. Similarly, if accused persons do not understand or speak the language used in court, they should have the free assistance of an interpreter.

If poor people are victims of a human rights violation by State or non-State actors, they should be granted equal access to civil, administrative or constitutional courts, tribunals and other dispute resolution mechanisms free of charge as a remedy and an effective means of reparation.

Worldmap - regional implementationRegional Implementation
This right is addressed by our projects in the following regions:
  • Africa - 2 projects
  • Arab States - 1 project
  • Asia and the Pacific - 2 projects

Field Projects

 Breaking the poverty cycle of women: empowering adolescent girls to become agents of social transformation in South Asia
Empowering marginalized adolescent girls in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to become agents of social transformation

 Combating exploitative migration of women and children in Africa
Promoting of culturally appropriate policy responses to exploitative migration of women and children

 Contributing to the eradication of poverty by strengthening human security in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Benin
Strengthening the most deprived communities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger

 Enhancing the socio-economic skills of deprived youth in the Arab States
A comprehensive skill training and capacity building program to improve the socio-economic opportunities for marginalized youth in four Arab countries

 Urban poverty alleviation among young and female migrants in China and Mongolia
Fighting urban poverty among young and female migrants in China and Mongolia through training, support and action

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Eradication of Poverty,
especially Extreme Poverty

UN Millennium Development Goal 1

   UNESCO's Strategy
 UN Development
     Goals in focus

 UN Millenium Declaration
 UN Millennium Campaign
 Universal Declaration
     of Human Rights

  Research Projects
 Pilot Projects

  Who's who?
  Press Kit [ PDF format ]

  Poverty Team Area