Poverty as a Violation of Human Rights: the Case of Street Children in Guatemala and Brazil

Paloma Morais Correa



Although human rights are officially regarded by the United Nations as indivisible, interrelated and interdependent, it is largely recognised the gap concerning mechanisms for adjudication between civil and political rights compared to economic, social and cultural ones. The very existence of an individual right not to be poor is still controversial within both – domestic and global societies. Consequently, the responsibility for providing individuals with rights such as food, water, shelter and education, although doubtless related to human dignity, have been constantly denied by states and by the international community. By analysing two cases of extrajudicial execution of street children in the American continent, this paper aims to address the debate of poverty as a violation of human rights considered as an option for judicial enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights. This article undertakes a qualitative analysis on jurisprudence, as well as literature and documents concerning the adjudication of such rights by the Inter-American Court. While taking an integrated approach to human rights, the links between poverty and vulnerability to other sorts of violations, such as urban violence, will be demonstrated. This paper will suggest that the adoption of the new Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) shall act as a supervisory mechanism to guaranteeing international implementation of social justice.

Keywords: poverty, human rights, street children, violence.


International Human Rights Law; Inter-American System of Human Rights

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5102/rdi.v10i2.2598

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