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Thematic reports

A/77/157: Banning discrimination on grounds of socioeconomic disadvantage: an essential tool in the fight against poverty


15 July 2022

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This report addresses the issue of discrimination on grounds of socio-economic disadvantage. Discrimination is part of the daily experience of people in poverty. It restricts access to employment, education, housing or social services, among others.

It discusses how discrimination against people in poverty operates and how it can be addressed. It acknowledges “povertyism”, i.e. negative stereotyping against the poor, as part of the experience of living on low incomes, and describes how the realization of socio-economic rights depends on people in poverty being protected from discrimination. It identifies the strengthening of the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of socio-economic disadvantage as a key tool towards poverty eradication.

Hence, the report notes the impact of prejudice against and stereotyping of people living in poverty and the systemic nature of discrimination against them. Next, the report argues that discrimination based on the ground of socio-economic background should be treated as a specific ground in anti-discrimination frameworks, which should address not only direct discrimination but also indirect discrimination. Furthermore, it underlines the importance of affirmative action policies to break the vicious cycles that result from the systemic nature of the discrimination faced by people in poverty. It also highlights the role of intersectionality, as socio-economic disadvantage exposes individuals to discrimination particularly when combined with another "traditional" status, such as ethnicity or sex.

The report concludes that States should ensure their anti-discrimination framework effectively prohibits (direct and indirect) discrimination on grounds of socio-economic disadvantage, and that affirmative action should be considered to address the systemic nature of the discrimination people in poverty face.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Delivered To:

General Assembly Seventy-seventh session