Moral Priorities for International Human Rights NGOs

We inhabit this world with large numbers of people who are very badly off through no fault of their own. The statistics are overwhelming: “Two out of five children in the developing world are stunted, one in three is underweight and one in ten is wasted.”1 Some 250 million children between 5 and 14 do wage work outside their family — often under harsh or cruel conditions: as soldiers, prostitutes, or domestic servants, or in agriculture, construction, textile or carpet production.2 In 1998, out of a total of 5900 million human beings,3 some 2800 million lived below $2/day, and nearly 1200 million of these below the $1/day international poverty line.4 Some 799 million are undernourished, 1000 million lack access to safe water, 2400 million lack access to basic sanitation, and 876 million adults are illiterate.5 More than 880 million lack access to basic health services.6 Approximately 1000 million have no adequate shelter and 2000 million no electricity.7 Roughly one third of all human deaths, some 50,000 daily, are due to poverty-related causes, easily preventable through better nutrition, safe drinking water, vaccines, cheap re-hydration packs and antibiotics.8 “Worldwide 34,000 children under age five die daily from hunger and preventable diseases.”9..
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