Human rights failures damage fight against poverty: Amnesty

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Amnesty International on Wednesday accused world leaders at a UN summit of damaging the fight against global poverty through their failure to combat human rights violations.

A greater focus on rights would boost efforts to reach a set of key United Nations development goals, which are under the spotlight at the New York summit, said the London-based group.

"It is completely unacceptable that world leaders have still not agreed to take concrete action to address discrimination and other human rights violations," said Amnesty's Secretary General, Salil Shetty.

Such violations "prevent the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) from benefiting those who need them most," he added.

Amnesty said there was much evidence that millions could not access basic services due to "discrimination and other human rights violations", which meant they were left out of initiatives to achieve development targets.

Despite this, there was no commitment for future concrete actions on human rights at the three-day summit, said the group in a statement.

Governments were not obliged to show if they were achieving their commitments on development targets or to ensure their efforts were consistent with human rights obligations, said Amnesty.

"In effect, world leaders are asking us to trust them, an incredible demand when we see the gap between what they are required to do and what they have delivered," said Shetty.

The summit aims to find ways to finance and give new political impetus to the eight development goals. They were set in 2000 but most experts now predict they will not be reached by the 2015 target date.

The goals include cutting extreme poverty by half, reducing by two-thirds the number of children who die before the age of five and spreading technological progress.

© 2010 AFP

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