Thursday, May 24, 2018
A democracy cannot sustain itself when millions live in extreme poverty. UN Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston is expected to release his report in early June, having conducted a tour of the United States. As reported in a December Guardian article, one question to be answered is whether " it is possible, in one of the worlds leading democracies, to enjoy fundamental human rights such as political participation or voting rights if you are unable to meet basic living standards, let alone engage... in the pursuit of happiness."
Mr. Alston can bring a holistic perspective to the failures on both the state and federal levels. As Martha Davis noted in the Guardian article, there is a lot that Philip Alston can say about basic inequality that goes to the heart of the rights that he is reviewing.
Mr. Alston's preliminary findings found some pockets of support in communities that took it upon themselves to assist the poor, but primarily US policies work against aiding those in poverty and result in limitations on social mobility. We have been warned for decades about the growing gap between the rich and poor. We anticipate Mr. Alston's report will clarify some root causes of the gap and subsequent denial of human rights that conditions of extreme poverty promote.
This blog intends to present a series on the Rapporteur's report upon its release.