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38.7 Million People Break Guinness World Record for Stand Up Speak Out on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Online press conference today with Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights, the ethical global initiative, Salil Shetty (UNMC) and Kumi Naidoo (GCAP) at 14.00GMT - log on at

NEW YORK, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 38.7 million people, in 110 countries have broken the Guinness World Record -- set last year at 23.5 million -- for the largest number of people to "STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY" in 24 hours.

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The "Stand Up and Speak Out" record attempt took place over 16th and 17th October and was jointly organised by the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) with a wide range of other partners. The challenge saw millions of people physically and intentionally standing up against poverty, inequality and in support of the Millennium Development Goals. They spoke out to demand a more urgent political response to the growing crisis of global poverty.

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who led a stand up action at UN Headquarters in New York, said, "Today tens of millions of people are making their voices heard by standing up and speaking out against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals. They are sending messages that call on their leaders to keep their promises. They are calling for the actions of citizens to be matched by the actions of Governments, in developing and developed countries alike, to demonstrate the political will required to end the scourge of poverty once and for all."

For 24 hours from 9pm GMT on the 16th of October, people around the world from all walks of life came together in their schools, streets, market places, in front of government buildings and local councils, in workplaces and houses of worship, at sports and cultural events and at public landmarks to demonstrate their frustration that we still live in a world where 50,000 people die daily from preventable causes. The mass mobilisation provided a platform for global civil society seeking more active involvement in the current aid architecture debate, debt cancellation processes, trade negotiations and public accountability monitoring. The largest numbers of people who took part in this mobilisation came from developing countries.

Kumi Naidoo, Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty said: "The confirmation of the new Guinness record coupled with the political dimension to this year's action, tells us we are a growing movement of people holding our leaders to account for tackling global poverty and inequality. The impressive efforts of our brothers and sisters in developing countries through new lobbying actions like delegations to politicians on this date, shows the poor are watching how resources are allocated and want to have a say how policies are made. It now falls on rich countries to fulfil their side of the bargain too."

The UN Millennium Campaign's Executive Coordinator Eveline Herfkens said: "Together we have broken the incredible record for the largest number of people standing up to demand action on poverty. But the record we really want to break is the world's record of breaking promises and ignoring the poor. We don't want to record numbers of people dying of poverty every year. This is the great issue of our times, let us become great by dealing with it decisively."

'Stand Up' regional overview of World record numbers

Africa: 7,473,057

Arab Region: 2,546,885

Asia: 27,612,061

Europe: 144,931

Latin America & Caribbean: 734,105

North America: 109,828

Oceania: 117,333

For further details and country breakdowns please visit

Country Highlights

-- In India all over the country people of all ages were standing up. In

Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India, five million people

participated. DAV Schools, the largest public school system of the

country, reported 500,000 voices against poverty and at Kashmir

University, 35,000 students stood up. Also in Delhi, one of four

Women's Tribunals on Poverty gathered 400 women from 20 states to

debate how gender exclusion and discrimination impede development in

poor countries.

-- In Bangladesh just under 850,000 people stood up with the main event

held at Dhaka City office and led by the Mayor followed by a high

profile concert. People called for cancellation of debt servicing to

eradicate poverty and at the end 1000 candles were lit to express

solidarity with the GCAP movement.

-- In South Africa, children in Pretoria stood up and the residents of the

Big Brother Africa House joined the call lighting a bonfire against

poverty which burned for the 24 hour period (see

-- In Malawi children were asked to bring a blade of grass to a local

football match, the sum of which was their total of 15,584


-- In the Philippines, a massive 7+million people were mobilised at events

involving faith groups and at the Anti Poverty fair. Campaigners called

on the Arroyo government to change their position regarding the

worsening condition of millions of Filipinos trapped in poverty.

-- Pakistani campaigners mobilised over 3.5 million including thousands

who helped unfurl a 10km-long banner, In Bahawalpur carrying one

million written messages. Pakistan was one of 25 countries across the

world using giant banners to form a white band, the symbol of the

global anti-poverty movement.

-- Palestinian children throughout the Occupied West Bank and Gaza spoke

out saying no to poverty. The activities organized jointly with the

Palestinian Ministry of Education took place for the first time in

public and private schools, as well as UNWRA schools.

-- In Ramallah, a choir from the University performed a new musical work

"The Poverty Requiem" as one of a global chain of 20 performances that

took place on every continent. A high school choir also performed the

piece at the UN Headquarters in New York.

-- In Egypt, Cairo the "Sailing the Nile" initiative saw over a million


-- Civil Society delegations to government were organised in an

unprecedented coordinated global lobby against poverty. Somalia was

one of 35 countries where civil society representatives organised a

group to present demands for pro-poor policy change directly to their


-- In The Hague, the national anti poverty campaign displayed 200 uniquely

created life-size 'Avatars' whilst in London the UN Deputy Secretary

General stood up with key women leaders in front of city hall.

-- In Rwanda, youth groups organized a Stand Up soccer tournament with 20

primary schools and in Bangladesh 10,000 young people blocked a busy

crossroads with a human chain.

-- Faith leaders Stand Up and Speak Out -- At papal mass at the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI sent a message of support urging increased efforts to

eliminate poverty. Indian spiritual leader his holiness Sri Sri Ravi

Shankar mobilized 30,000 people at his ashram in Bangalore and millions

more across the globe to raise their voices through the Art of Living

Foundation. Micah Challenge, the global Christian campaign took part

and In the US, Canada and Europe Episcopal and Lutheran churches made

the MDGs their top social justice priority by appointing an MDG-focused

organizer in every diocese.

Visit for full list of events from around the world

Notes to Editors:

The Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) is a civil society alliance of social movements, International NGOs, trade unions, community groups, women's organizations, faith and youth groups, local associations and campaigners working together across more than 100 national coalitions/platforms. GCAP is calling for action from the world's leaders to meet their promises to end poverty and inequality. In particular, GCAP demands solutions that address the issues of; public accountability, just governance and the fulfilment of human rights; trade justice; more and better aid; debt cancellation and gender equality and women's rights.

The UN Millennium Campaign was established by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2002. The Campaign supports citizens' efforts to hold their governments to account for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals, formally adopted by 189 countries in the year 2000 are a set of eight specific goals which commit rich and poor countries to work together to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, ensure all boys and girls complete primary school, promote gender equality, improve the health of mothers and children, reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, protect the environment, and create a global partnership for development by ensuring rich countries give more and better aid, debt relief and trade opportunities to poorer countries.

SOURCE Global Call to Action Against Poverty
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