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The Poverty of Rights Human Rights and the Eradication of Poverty by Willem J. M. Van Genugten

The Poverty of Rights Human Rights and the Eradication of Poverty

Part of the International Studies in Poverty Research Series


The Poverty of Rights Human Rights and the Eradication of Poverty by Willem J. M. Van Genugten

Political leaders, social scientists and lawyers are nowadays paying more attention to two, not necessarily related, issues: concrete measures to reduce poverty and practical steps to respect human rights enshrined in international and national legal systems. The innovative contribution of this volume is its bringing together of these two questions. The authors, who are mainly Latin American, are deeply aware of their own continent's particular history vis-a-vis grave human rights violations on the one hand, and the coexistence of great wealth alongside immense inequality on the other. Law, they argue, is no panacea for the intractable problem of poverty. But it can be an indispensable basis for, and complement to, social mobilization, which, in turn, can be strengthened by certain kinds of socially engaged and critical social science. This is all the more so where economic, social and cultural rights are recognized as being just as important as the older agenda of civil and political entitlements. Vigorous advocacy of compliance with international human rights norms and explicit incorporation and actionability of such standards in national legal frameworks can then play a role in the struggle to reduce, and ultimately eradicate, global poverty and social injustice. The contributors include lawyers and social scientists from a number of disciplines. Largely eschewing a set of country case studies, but paying particular attention to indigenous peoples and their struggles against poverty, they explore a range of important questions relating to the intersection of human rights and poverty, including the relatively new notion of the right to development. An important intellectual contribution breaking new ground in the political struggle to reduce world poverty.

About the Author

Willem van Genugten is professor of international law at Tilburg University and professor of human rights at Nijmegen University. In addition he is, inter alia, chair of the board of the Dutch Research School of Human Rights, which is a joint initiative of the Universities of Maastrich, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Tilburg. He is also member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs of the Dutch government . He has published a series of books and articles, mainly in the field of human rights. Camilo Perez-Bustillo is research professor at the State of Mexico campus of the 'Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey' (ITESM), where he gives courses in media studies, law and international relations. He is also a resident scholar at the Permanent Seminar on Chicano and Border Studies of the Social Anthropology Division of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (DEAS-INAH), and the Mexico representative for the US-based National Lawyers' Guild.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2001


Willem J. M. Van Genugten

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Zed Books Ltd


224 pages


Poverty & unemployment
Human rights
Social theory



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