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Critical Poverty: Access to Justice and Abuse of Power in Latin America (From Resource Material Series No. 70, P 106-115, 2006, Simon Cornell, ed. -- See NCJ-219628)

NCJ Number
Pedro R. David
Date Published
November 2006
10 pages
This article addresses the unequal treatment under the law and the critical poverty of marginalized Latin American populations.
The United Nations has recognized the plight of marginalized Latin American populations in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice. The United Nations policies aimed at improving the social equity under the rule of law are reviewed beginning with the Caracas Declaration, which formally joined the issues of improving social conditions and the success of crime prevention and criminal justice system policies. The Caracas Declaration is actually more relevant today, 20 years after its creation, due to increasing worldwide social inequalities, including disparities of income, human and political rights, access to education, health, justice, gender, and access to democratic participation. Following this global assessment of growing social inequities, the author focuses specifically on the plight of marginalized Latin American populations in terms of inequities and abuses of power. The impoverishment of Argentina is considered, which also ushered in unequal access to basic social services such as education and even the protection of constitutional property rights. The way in which the absence of the rule of law contributes to poverty is considered, such as through unchecked abuses of political power, along with the obstacles to the equitable functioning of legal and judicial systems. A number of legal, judicial, and institutional reforms are recommended in order to create an environment free from poverty and unemployment and conducive to the fight against criminality. These recommendations included a reengineering of penal law, United Nations standards and norms, the democratization of penal law, and the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Footnotes


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