Research Handbook on Human Rights and Poverty
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Poverty

Edited by Martha F. Davis, Morten Kjaerum and Amanda Lyons

This important Research Handbook explores the nexus between human rights, poverty and inequality as a critical lens for understanding and addressing key challenges of the coming decades, including the objectives set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. The Research Handbook starts from the premise that poverty is not solely an issue of minimum income and explores the profound ways that deprivation and distributive inequality of power and capability relate to economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.
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Chapter 35: Beyond the state: holding international institutions and private entities accountable for poverty alleviation

Lucy Williams

Abstract

This chapter explains why a state-centered focus on poverty elimination is limited and problematic. Williams argues that efforts to reduce poverty must consider not only the state’s actions (and inactions), but also the actions of private and mixed government-private actors. These non-state actors maintain poverty through discriminatory market behavior, inequitable legal remedies, and other practices that sustain poverty. To fill this void, Williams explores the possibility of suing international organizations that do not serve the purpose of reducing poverty, or that actually comply with increasing poverty. This chapter urges human rights activists to invest energy in refining human rights standards to include accountability for non-state actors.

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