International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 october)
The Day and its origin
In 1987, at the call of the ATD Fourth World movement, 100,000 people gathered in Paris, on the forecourt of Human Rights at the Trocadéro, to affirm their rejection of extreme poverty. Since then, the Day has been commemorated around the world by an increasing number of individuals and public and civil society organizations. Since 1992, October 17 has been recognized by the UN as the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty”.
October 17 is a day to affirm that extreme poverty is unacceptable, that it is a violation of human rights. We can make an end to this scandal if we get together and take into account what people who live in extreme poverty have to tell us.
“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.” —Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World.
All the places where October 17 of the current year are celebrated are mentioned on this map of the world, and in particular in Quebec where a dozen events generally take place. The map also lists the locations of the replicas of the commemorative stone of Trocadéro from October 17, 1987.
Recognition by the UN and other committees
In 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to make World Day for Overcoming Poverty (named by ATD Fourth World) the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (named by UN). The day is also recognized by the Council of Europe (signature of the Joint Declaration “Acting to eradicate poverty in Europe” on October 17, 2012).
In 2008, the International Committee for October 17 was created. Composed of about twenty members of different social origins and geographical horizons, the objective of the Committee is to be an active interlocutor with those who want to celebrate October 17 or inaugurate replicas of the Stone in honor of the victims. of misery, founding stone of the Day.
The action is also coordinated by the Forum on Overcoming Extreme Poverty, a network of associations and committed individuals who develop knowledge based on what they learn about the resistance, courage and solidarity of populations in situations of poverty. The members of the Forum contribute to the choice of the theme of the International Day by the United Nations.
Joining people in extreme poverty in their fight means trying to build relationships of equality with them. It means looking with them for answers in the face of exclusion, based on their lives and their knowledge.
On that day, whether in schools, in public squares, in town halls, in cultural centres, at the United Nations or in the heart of villages, ordinary people come together around the experiences of people living in poverty, to say “no” to the inevitability of misery and experience moments of encounter, exchange and reflection around the words of the very poor.
These meetings strengthen everyone’s commitment and challenge our societies on the place given to everyone. Each place commemorates the day differently. This may involve debates, “forum theatre”, reading of testimonies, workshops, stories for children, art exhibits, or musical performances: these citizen gatherings can take very varied forms to allow expression and stimulate reflection.