Archive for the ‘Article On Poverty’ Category

Speech by Andrea McDorman

Most people think they are not in a position to help poverty victims. I strongly believe that any one can lend a helping hand and it does not always have to be through offering some money. Let me share briefly about how to help poverty victims in Africa.

Food

Food is one of the basic necessities for any human being. Food has become scarce in the continent because of the decline in food production brought about by numerous factors. Droughts, famine, lack of resource, deaths are one of the factors that have made food scarce. More and more the African depends on hand outs to feed its population and people are dying of hunger. Help in the form of food can make a huge difference.

Health care

Health care is another way to help poverty victims in Africa. Almost every homestead has been affected by the limitation or shortage of adequate access to health care in the continent (UN, worldhealth.org). The reality is, Africans are challenged when it comes to health, besides their beliefs in their own traditional medicines. Some deaths are caused by the lack of health care as some of the diseases like AIDS are manageable but people die earlier than they should.

Shelter

There is a growing population of the homeless in the continent who can no longer be ignored. Almost every city has people who stay there, sleep in pipes etc. These people have been displaced by different reasons but the common denominator is that all of them are homeless.

Education

I strongly believe that one of the ways to fight poverty and to cut the chain of poverty is through education. If a member of poverty stricken family is given access to education it is believed he/she would generate income and take care of his/her siblings as dependants their lives would not be the same. Different reasons deprive African children of education and which they much need to change their lives.

Self -sustaining projects

This my last point about how to help poverty victims in Africa.

It may be hard to always be donating to people but if they also try to move from their poverty situations it becomes a lesser burden. In some parts of the continent the people only need mealie-meal but they are able to make a living by growing vegetables to feed themselves and sell the surplus. It is encouraging to see the people trying to help themselves than solely relying on hand outs. Helping Africans to start their self-sustaining projects especially in food production is one way one would help to fight poverty in Africa and Africans can also help themselves. They may be poor and hungry but they had workers.

Go find more at http://www.youngheroes.org.sz/index_home.asp

Also see more about AIDS orphans in Africa – Swaziland

In 2006/2007, the governments own statistics show that over 13 million of our population were considered to be living below the poverty line although this figure is rising at a rate of around 1 million every 2 years. (For single adults you are considered to be living below the poverty line if your income is less than 60% of average which is around £112 per week or just under £6000 per year) Most of these still have an income above which they will be required to fund their own legal expenses given that only single unemployed people with no dependents fall short of the £3398 benchmark with a benefits income of around £3328. Put quite simply if you have a child you are not entitled to legal aid in full.

Effectively this means that with the exception of homeless unemployed benefits people there effectively is not a single person in this country which would be entitled to 100% legal aid funding. If a person fails to provide their proportion of legal expenses they could face losing their homes in enforcement action, a move akin to the elderly in care homes being forced to sell their houses to fund their existence after a life of contributing to the very state which now denies their dignity. Once released the innocent will no longer have a home to live in, families will be torn apart further than they are already by the justice system and the state will ultimately have to pay for the damage it has reaped as a result.

Clearly with over 13 million of the affected population living in what is already considered to be poverty, the refusal to fund any legal representation in full will result in either their poverty being compounded or their legal representation restricted. Both of which are a breach of any socially acceptable standard in any developed country in the 21st century not least one which ratified the ECHR which this latest move so defiantly and blatantly ignores.

Article 6 Paragraph 3c.
“Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;”

The only foreseeable outcome of this is that many more will be wrongly convicted of crimes since they will through the denial of adequate legal representation be unable to prove their innocence against a financially unrestricted prosecution procedure.

It naturally follows that there will be more appeals lodged on the legal grounds of not being provided with an adequate defence, which in turn will result in compensation being issued by the government through Article 5’s enforceable compensation requirements. Worse than that even the genuinely guilty would be entitled to the same and could be wrongly released (Look out for more incidents similar to the recent murders of two French Students).

My suggestion? Solicitors up and down the country should unite until this decision is reversed offering their services for appeals on a pro-bono basis receiving a percentage of the enforceable compensation awards. In this way, ultimately the state will be required to pay out more as a result of this ill-conceived and morally wrong ruling implemented against the advice of those they paid to advise them. 

Billy Middleton is the founder of http://www.wronglyaccusedperson.org.uk, supporting and assisting the wrongly accused and their families to cope with the situation they find themselves in.