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UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to be marked at famine statues in call to end persistent poverty

The Irish 17 October Committee is pleased to invite the media and public to gather at the Human Rights and Poverty Stone near the famine statues on Custom House Quay on Monday 17th October 2022 from 11 am to 12.30 pm in order to mark the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The gathering will include testimonies based on lived experiences of poverty and socio- economic discrimination, speeches, a creative common gesture, music and songs. 

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was first marked at a major public rally held on 17 October 1987 in Paris, where one hundred thousand people from all backgrounds responded to a call from Father Joseph Wresinski, founder of All Together in Dignity – ATD Fourth World, to gather at the Plaza of Liberties and Human Rights. On this day, a declaration was engraved on a Commemorative Stone, proclaiming that extreme poverty is a violation of human rights and affirming the need for all people to unite to ensure that these rights are respected. In 1992, the United Nations recognised the 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Since then, governments, local authorities, members of civil society and the private sector have recognized the importance of this International Day, which has become a key rallying point for a growing number of citizens and organizations from all backgrounds, in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. The National Irish 17 October Committee is made up of activists and groups in local communities, teachers, home school liaison officers and members of organisations. The work of the Irish 17 October Committee is regularly supported by the Department of Social Protection and its Public Awareness Funding to promote awareness of the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. 

The International 17 October Committee in discussions with the United Nations in New York has chosen as the global theme for this year’s UN End Poverty day “Dignity for all in Practice: the commitments we make together for social justice, peace and the planet”. The Irish theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been condensed by the national 17 October Committee to “Respecting the Dignity of all Humanity: End Persistent Poverty”. The national Committee felt it was necessary to include ‘end persistent poverty’ into the Irish theme as those who are struggling daily in extreme poverty, who can be described as living in ‘persistent poverty’, must remain the core focus of this day as it is those people who are most often made to feel as though they are living without dignity. 

The International 17 October committee state how dignity is a fundamental right and constitutes the basis of all other fundamental rights. However, they urge a recognition that dignity is not something that is given, rather all people have dignity within them, and that it is crucial for this dignity (as well as the intelligence, capacity and humanity of all people) to be respected. They state that dignity and respect should be considered two sides of the same coin rather than separate. Further, in order to allow those who have been marginalized to feel respected and be aware of their own enormous potential, effort should be made to create a world that focuses on empowering and uplifting others rather than one which stigmatizes, silences and punishes. 

The Committee is making reference to the #addthe10th campaign in this year’s theme. This campaign seeks to have socio-economic status recognised as the tenth ground of discrimination in Ireland’s equality legislation. To do so would mark an important step in showing greater respect to those excluded daily because of their socio- economic status. They claim that respecting the dignity of all people no matter their social background is vital to creating a more equal, harmonious and vibrant world for all.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy who will be speaking at the event, said,

“I am very pleased to be speaking at the 17 October this year.  This event is important in promoting dialogue and understanding between people living in poverty and their communities and society at large”. 

17 October Booklet 2022 768x1086 1

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