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Global push for universal social protection as charter agreed by people’s organisations


1st October: Social protection is a tool for peace and social justice that must cover everyone, be underpinned by legislation and provide for people’s participation, a global gathering of social movements and workers’ organisations has heard.

The Asia Europe People’s Forum in Ghent, Belgium, brought together civil society organisations, trades unions, parliamentarians and researchers, for discussion on promoting social justice, including to agree a Global Charter for Social Protection Rights. This statement underlines that social protection “is a commons, emerging from the democratic and participatory actions of citizens with demands for public authorities… Social protection should be transformative and contribute to a better productive system… and an endeavour for achieving a life in dignity for all”.

The AEPF emerged in the mid-1990s from a desire and need among people’s organisations and networks across Asia and Europe to open up new venues for dialogue and strengthen network-building to advance human rights, and last held an inter-regional conference in Mongolia in 2016.

The latest Forum also heard from Stephen Kidd, Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways, who provided insight into the role of the IMF and World Bank in promoting poverty-targeted social protection, as a form of ‘poor relief’ or charity, which cuts against the right to social protection.  This excludes not only the vast majority of populations at risk of falling into poverty, but also most of those living in extreme poverty, with exclusion errors approaching or higher than 50%.




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