Keeping human rights out of poverty

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Bufacchi, Vittorio
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Edward Elgar
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In Keeping Human Rights Out of Poverty Bufacchi defends the controversial view that human rights discourse may not be the best instrument for addressing global poverty. There are four main parts to this paper. Part 1 will give a general overview of some of the main arguments in favour of addressing the question of poverty in terms of a human rights discourse, while Parts 2 and 3 will argue that the link between poverty and human rights is at best superfluous and at worse counterproductive to the advancement of human rights or to the fight against poverty. Part 4 will consider, but ultimately reject, the view that it is necessary to describe poverty in terms of a human rights violation since doing so switches the debate from ethics to international law. In Poverty and the Rhetoric of Human Rights: A Reply to Bufacchi, Jesse Tomalty argues that Bufacchi does not succeed in undermining the rhetorical value of characterizing poverty as a human rights violation. This is because his arguments rest on an unduly narrow conception of human rights, according to which their normative role is limited to providing grounds for international intervention. According to Tomalty, the characterization of poverty as a human rights violation can be supported by a broader conception of human rights that better captures the wide array of normative roles they play in discourse and practice.
Poverty , Human rights
Bufacchi, V. (2021) 'Keeping human rights out of poverty', in Egan, S. and Chadwick, A. (eds.) Poverty and Human Rights. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 23-34.
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© 2021, the Editors and the Author. This is a draft chapter. The final version is available in Poverty and Human Rights edited by Suzanne Egan and Anna Chadwick, published in 2021, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.