Rights, Legal Empowerment and Poverty Reduction

The Socio-Economic Rights Project held a seminar on “Rights, Legal Empowerment and Poverty Reduction” on 26 June 2008 at School of Government, University of the Western Cape.

The keynote speaker at the seminar was Professor Dan Banik from the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Oslo, Norway. His keynote address, “Rights, Legal Empowerment and Poverty Reduction: From Academic Discourse to Implementable Policy”, was followed by a panel discussion made up of:

  • Prof. Jaap de Visser, Senior Researcher, Community Law Centre, UWC.
  • Prof. John Mubangizi, Deputy Vice Chancellor & Head, Law College, UKZN.
  • Dr. David Bilchitz, Senior Researcher, SAIFAC,
  • Prof. Andries du Toit, Deputy Director, PLAAS, UWC.

The panelists addressed, among others, the following questions:

  • How can the poor be empowered to actively participate in decision-making processes and consequently influence policy outcomes?
  • To what extent can judicial and governance reforms lead to an improvement of the poor’s access to justice and thereby protect, fulfill and advance their social, economic and cultural rights?
  • Finally, to what extent can citizens and civil society actors hold the state accountable for policy failures?
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