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On the International Day for Action Against Poverty, Al Mezan Calls for Eradicating Poverty Causes in OPT

17-10-2007 00:00

In response to the call by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the UN Millennium Campaign, millions of people around the world stood up against poverty on 16 and 17 October 2007.
The UN International Day for Poverty Eradication is a significant occasion to encourage people across the world to participate in action against poverty and pressure governments and the leaders to achieve their promises of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's); especially challenging and ending poverty and inequality by halving extreme poverty and substantially improving education, health and housing conditions by 2015.
Poverty is an experience that undermines people's capabilities and causes people to face the worst forms of marginalization and exclusion.
It creates an environment that is enabling of serious human rights violations.
Poverty is described as the 'modern face of slavery'.
Its eradication can be best achieved through empowerment within the international human rights framework, which requires respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights.
Poverty scored significant increases in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT); particularly in the Gaza Strip, since the start of the second millennium.
Unlike other places in the world - where unfair trade conditions, corruption and natural disasters cause its spread- poverty in OPT is constructed.
It is the result of continued closure and siege by Israel, which started in September 2000, which has developed into a full siege in the last four months.
As a result, the population of Gaza has been impoverished and made highly dependent on international humanitarian aid.
According to a September poll by the Near East Consulting, the poverty rate exceeds 68%.
Some 41.
4% of the population lives in extreme poverty (less than $1 per day).
Closures have in effect prevented all exports and imports, save for some humanitarian goods, have destroyed the economy and exacerbated the problems of employment and malnutrition in the Gaza Strip.
Certain aspects of these problems are irreversible, even in the long-run.
Closures also created an unprecedented scope of human rights violations.
Most Gazans do not have access to adequate health services inside Gaza owing to the deterioration of the health sector.
Besides, the closure prevents their access to healthcare outside Gaza.
Other basic rights, such as education, work, food, and housing, are also affected by closure.
The impacts of poverty and unemployment on the population have also exacerbated by the limitation of the flow of humanitarian goods into Gaza after Israel expanded its siege.
The impacts are doubled by the rapid increase of prices.
For example, according to Al Mezan's documentation, the price of a flour sack reached $50 in Gaza.
The prices of other basic goods have been doubled, and sometimes tripled.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts that poverty is primarily a direct result of Israel's policy of exerting continued economic and political and military pressure on OPT, and the conditions of violence.
The international community must take urgent action to eradicate these causes; especially the collective punishment and siege imposed on the OPT, and on Gaza in particular.
Al Mezan supports the actions of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the UN Millennium Campaign and joins its voice to theirs in calling for effective eradication of poverty in the world.
Al Mezan invites the UN and international organizations to double their efforts to challenge the reasons that make poverty a prevalent reality in OPT.
In particular, the Center calls the Campaign to include the urgent halt of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip in its objectives.
Al Mezan also calls Hamas and the deposed government to uphold their responsibilities and brake the rapid rise of prices, which adds to the serious implications of the siege and extreme poverty that Gazans never experienced since the start of the occupation in 1967.
The deposed government should insure the stability of prices and prevent all kinds of manipulation and monopoly in the market.
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