PETALING JAYA: The government should adopt a human rights-based approach in efforts to eradicate poverty, says the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
The commission said that the approach should count on the active participation of vulnerable communities in decisions that would affect them.
Suhakam said in a statement on Sunday (Oct 17), that the approach should also include “government’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations as duty-bearers while ensuring principles of non-discrimination and equality are met and empowering every individual to claim and exercise their rights”.
The statement, in conjunction with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, also said that the Covid-19 pandemic along with the lack of a comprehensive social protection system further exacerbated the insecurity and vulnerability of some communities.
“Suhakam observed that in Malaysia, the incidence of poverty persists among those who are economically and socially vulnerable including the daily wage workers, contract workers, single parents, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities, among others.
“It was reported that the number of poor households increased from 405,400 in 2019 to 639,800, a year later.
“According to the Department of Statistics, the true impact of the pandemic would be better evidenced by the Household Income and Basic Amenities (HIS/BA) Survey which would be conducted in 2022,” it said.
Suhakam added that whilst the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and eradicate extreme poverty through the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) are lauded, a coordinated strategy is crucial to ensure effective implementation.
“Suhakam calls for all stakeholders to play their role towards the realisation and protection of the rights of the vulnerable communities and to ensure that they are able to enjoy, at the very least, the minimum standards of a dignified life set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),” it said.
This year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty themed “Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet” is celebrated on Oct 17.