Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good study of world poverty, 19 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights (Paperback)
Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has written a fine book on what she rightly calls `poverty, the world's worst human rights crisis'.

She points out that the inequities in the world today are greater than those in apartheid South Africa, and they are growing. The number of those suffering hunger has risen steadily since 2000. In 2008, rising food prices pushed 100 million people back down into poverty, and the economic crisis has forced another 50 million into poverty. One billion people go to bed hungry every night.

China now spends less than 1 per cent of its GDP on health care, ranking it 156th of 196 UN member states. 30 million more Chinese people were illiterate in 2005 than in 2000. The richest 10 per cent of China's people get 30 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent. In India, 42 per cent of females over the age of 6 have never attended school.

Ms Khan shows how countries need the universal provision of essential services, including, for example, abortion: South Africa's deaths from abortion complications fell by 90 per cent after it was legalised in 1994.

In a brilliant chapter on the need for housing, she points out, "the market on its own has failed to provide affordable and accessible homes to all sectors of society ... Global housing debates tend to accept that only market-based solutions to the global housing crisis will prevail (despite such approaches arguably being the cause of the crisis in the first place!)"

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states, "The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions." The USA has not ratified this Covenant; China has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Ms Khan argues against the false notion that there are two distinct kinds of freedom - positive (economic, social and cultural) and negative (civil and political), imposing positive and negative obligations on states. As she observes, "Building an effective court system to ensure fair trials is as positive an obligation as building schools to fulfil the right to universal primary education." And, "As regards cost, most human rights require resources. Maintaining a fair and effective judicial system requires significant public investment. Without it many civil and political rights would be impossible to fulfil. Cost should not be a determinant of human rights."

But, as she notes, "All sides are placing high levels of trust in the market to deliver rights - despite the global economic crisis exposing the fallacy of such an approach" and points out that voluntary codes, like the UN Global Compact, have led to no `significant change in the behaviour of companies or governments'.

Yet she finishes by just vaguely advising the richer countries to `do much more - in their trade and investment policies, in tackling the companies, banks and arms dealers ...'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.3 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
13.99 13.55
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: London United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 61,773