Respect human rights of the poor, says scholar

By Fan Junmei
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, November 3, 2009
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Australian Professor David Kinley said Monday that guaranteeing the basic human rights of poor people is what a fair and rational economy should be about. He made the remarks at the second Beijing Forum on Human Rights.

Professor David Kinley of the University of Sydney Law School delivers a speech at the second Beijing Forum on Human Rights, November 2, 2009.

Delivering a speech titled The Global Financial Crisis, Poverty and Human Rights, Professor Kinley said, "For the poor, finance is always about much more than economics. It is a matter of basic human rights."


Faced with the same economic crisis, developing countries are suffering far more than developed countries. The crisis has disproportionately affected poorer countries, especially the least developed nations that are most vulnerable to reductions in foreign aid and investment, and the decline of their export trade. People in these countries suffer from bad housing, lack of health care and education, and in many cases are struggling against hunger, exploitation, discrimination and, perhaps worst of all, a disdainful disregard for their plight.

Kinley said the plight of developing countries should be addressed from a humanitarian standpoint, and that special concern should be given to the most basic human rights (above all the right to life) of poor people.

Political leaders are currently debating the construction of a new financial system, but how the rich can help the poor should be forefront of these discussions, said Kinley. The plight of people living in developing countries should be a key part of the process of renewal. Global economic justice, he said, is the foundation of human rights progress.

David Kinley is the associate dean and professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Sydney Law School, Australia.

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