Make poverty discrimination illegal like racism or sexism, official to tell UN

Prejudice against poor people is “a stain on society” that needs to be made illegal, according to a senior UN official. In an address to the UN general assembly later this week, Olivier De Schutter, special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, will call for the term “povertyism” to be included in anti-discrimination law alongside sexism and racism “to stop destroying people’s lives”. “Poverty will never be eradicated while povertyism is allowed to fester, restricting access to education, housing, employment and social benefits to those who need them the most,” De Schutter will tell the general assembly on Friday. “The world is finally waking up to the injustices of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, and putting laws in place to stop them from destroying people’s lives. Povertyism … must be treated just as seriously,” he will add. In a new report to be released on Friday, De Schutter defines “povertyism” as the negative stereotyping of the poor, and “a major source of non-take-up of rights” in that it can discourage people from applying for jobs and benefits. Read more.

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