Could poverty be made illegal worldwide, just as torture and other human rights abuses have been?
It’s a radical concept, and one that’s being vociferously debated at the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) annual conference following a call by Henrique Pinto, from Cais street paper in Portugal, for street papers to support his campaign to make poverty illegal.
What at first seems like an idealistic, never-achievable “dream” goal gains some weight when you consider that once slavery was legal, and it took a radical mindshift and support from a critical mass to make it illegal. There are countless examples of these shifts that throughout history, so why is it so inconceivable that poverty, like slavery, could one day be outlawed?
As Pinto points out, like torture, genocide and other human rights abuses, “poverty is a serious violation of the most basic human rights”. And, like slavery, “poverty is man-made — it is not a natural phenomena”, Pinto argues.