EAPN regards poverty and social exclusion as a violation of human rights, as they prevent people from accessing and enjoying their social, economic, cultural and other rights.

Fundamental rights are enshrined in different international instruments (in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Article 9 of the EU Treaty, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, other United Nations conventions, Council of Europe conventions, ILO conventions, and others). EAPN advocates for social justice and wellbeing for all, by empowering everybody to access their rights to a life in dignity for themselves, their families and communities. Poverty is not inevitable, and cannot be blamed on those experiencing it – it is rather the result of political and economic choices. The human rights framework also focuses on empowerment – giving voice and power to those who are poor and otherwise unable to

EAPN Task Force on Poverty and Human Rights 2016

Throughout 2016, EAPN has mandated a dedicated Task Force to elaborate on the relation between poverty and human rights in Europe, to deepen its understanding of poverty and social exclusion as a violation of human rights, and to strengthen its capacity to act against poverty and human rights violations. It seeks to:

  • operationalise human rights as recognised by the international community
  • understand and define how poverty and social exclusion can be treated as a human rights issue
  • develop EAPN’s capacity to work on poverty and social exclusion as human rights issues
  • gather examples of how human rights instruments have been used to combat poverty and social exclusion by the EAPN membership and others
  • strengthen EAPN members’ capacity to contribute to the general discourse and debate about poverty as a breach of human rights
  • consider how members of EAPN can use international and national human rights law to progress the fight against poverty
  • consider how EAPN members can communicate better on these issues through social media

The Task Force will produce, by the end of the year, a Toolkit on Using human rights concepts and instruments to combat Poverty and Social Exclusion.


EAPN work on Roma issues

EAPN has set up an email cluster, to work more closely with those of its national and European Organisation members who are interested in and dealing with Roma communities in Europe. The results of this work are fed at Brussels-level into the ad-hoc coalition of Roma civil society organisations (coordinated by the European Roma Grassroots Organisation Network – ERGO), as well as in the regular structural dialogue with Roma civil society, organised by the Non-Discrimination Policies and Roma Coordination Unit in DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission.  


EAPN work on youth

EAPN has been monitoring the design and implementation of the Youth Guarantee through our annual analysis of National Reform Programmes, advocating for quality indicators to be incorporated in the approach and applied to the offers of education or employment which are proposed to young people, as well as for a more comprehensive approach to youth inclusion, that goes beyond employment and which also tackles important issues for young people, such as adequate income support, access to quality, affordable services, and meaningful engagement and participation in policy-making and society. EAPN also works closely with the European Youth Forum (YFJ), having actively contributed to the working groups organised by the YFJ on quality internships, and to the Social Inclusion of Young People report. The two organisations have also organised a joint event dedicated to youth poverty and social inclusion in the framework of the 2014 European Meeting of People experiencing Poverty and Social Exclusion.


EAPN work on other key groups and their access to rights

Through its European Organisations, EAPN incorporates in all its work, a thematic perspective of different key groups of stakeholders, such as children (Eurochild), older people (AGE Platform), people experiencing homelessness (FEANTSA), ethnic minorities, particularly Roma communities (ENAR, European Roma Information Office), migrants (BABELEA, PICUM), and others.