Welfare and Poverty

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Poverty is often defined primarily in economic terms. But there are more aspects to this phenomenon that impacts on human dignity, which are of social, cultural and political nature. From a human rights perspective, poverty is related not only to income but also to access to services, an individual’s ability to participate in society and political affairs or their personal safety.

When the NICS works on poverty-related issues it can be helpful to:

  • View poverty from a broader perspective 

  • Understand how supporting individuals in different areas of life can help mitigate the impact of poverty on their human rights 


The provision of welfare or social security is connected to the alleviation of poverty and protecting an adequate standard of living for all. The rights that are most likely to be engaged include:

  • The right to an adequate standard of living

  • The right to health

  • The right to social security

  • The right to work and participation

The absolute right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment can also be violated when individuals are made destitute. Special consideration to the particular barriers that groups may face in society. Groups such as:

  • Vulnerable groups
  • Marginalised groups
  • Other disadvantaged groups

Rights Engaged

Right to social security
  • ESC, Arts 12(1), 13, 14
  • European Code of Social Security             
  • ICESCR, Art 9
  • UNCEDAW, Arts 11(1)(e), 14(2)(c)
  • UNCRC, Art 26

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Right to health
  • ESC, Art 11
  • ICESCR, Art 12
  • UNCEDAW, Art 12
  • UNCRPD, Art 25
  • UNCRC, Art 24

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Right to an adequate standard of living
  • ICESCR, Art 11
  • CEDAW, Art 14(2)(h)
  • UNCRPD , Art 28
  • CRC, Art 27

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Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 3
  • ICCPR, Art 7
  • UNCRPD, Art 15
  • CRC, Art 37

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Right to work
  • ESC, Arts 1, 18-19
  • ICESCR, Art 6
  • UNCEDAW, Art 11
  • UNCRPD, Art 27
Right to fair remuneration
  • ESC, Art 4
  • ICESCR, Art 7
  • UNCRPD, Art 27