Violence Against the Poor: A Country Confronts its History

June 7: The City’s Outcasts in Search of their History

Presentation by Marie-Rose Blunschi Ackermann and Nelly Schenker (Suisse)

Since its very first years in the Noisy-le-Grand emergency housing camp, the ATD Fourth World Movement has been driven by the belief that the causes of persistent poverty are to be found not in the personal characteristics of the individuals who suffer from it, nor in their present situation, but in their history and the history of societies that continue to exclude them.

The presentation of Marie-Rose Blunschi Ackermann and Nelly Schenker will delve into the link between three crucial dimensions ATD Fourth World’s work in Switzerland: first, building the identity of the “fourth world people”; second, defending human rights with, and starting from, those whose situation in extreme poverty is a permanent violation of these rights; and, third, building peace with those who suffer from the violence of extreme poverty. During the period before 1981, coercive measures were taken against people on welfare that included permanently severing links between children and their parents. Now that rights are being restored to the victims of these measures, what can we learn from this about our collective history of eradicating poverty?

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