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The Special Rapporteur noted that, as a result of such discrimination, there is a lack of trust in the national educational system and some children tend to remain within their community rather than attend school and acquire skills that could eventually enable them to break the cycle of poverty.
He cited Minority Rights Group International as noting in 2009 that, of the 101 million children out of school and the 776 million illiterate adults, the majority are part of racial, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.
In many countries, the low enrolment rate of minority children is the result of official policies that fail to recognise the existence of minorities as part of the whole population and to take measures to ensure that they enjoy the rights guaranteed to every citizen.
'Discrimination against groups and persons based on their ethnicity, race, religion or other characteristics or factors has been known to encourage exclusion and impoverish certain groups of the population who suffer from unequal access to basic needs and services.' Groups that are discriminated against, such as Afro-descendants, minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants and refugees, are disproportionately affected by poverty in all regions of the world.
'The complex relationship between racism and discrimination suggests that only the guarantee of equality and non-discrimination can redress that imbalance and protect such groups from falling into or being trapped in poverty,' the Special Rapporteur stressed.
'For groups that are discriminated against, education is crucial for preparing and equipping them with the skills to achieve economic and social mobility and consequently to break the cycles of multidimensional poverty and discrimination.' Ruteere noted that poverty and discrimination are often reflected in poor health status.
Vulnerable and marginalised groups disproportionately face obstacles in accessing health care.
'Owing to their economic and social conditions, groups that are discriminated against are more exposed to health risks and diseases.
They are more likely than others to live in polluted and environmentally degraded areas where the risk of exposure to substance abuse, violence and infectious diseases is higher.' The Special Rapporteur also noted that racism and discrimination negatively affect the realisation of the right to adequate housing for the marginalised groups.
The right to education He noted that one of the reasons why groups that are discriminated against remain trapped in poverty is 'the perpetual marginalisation they suffer in terms of access to education', despite the obligation of states to realise this right for all without discrimination.
'Realising the right to education for all children should be the cornerstone of strategies directed at reducing poverty and discouraging discrimination,' he underlined.