The so-called vulnerable groups, which include children, women, migrant workers, the old and the poor, are undeniably the most exposed to and the most seriously affected by massive human rights violations.
The problems are still more severe in rural areas, where the failures of political and economic policies are more acutely felt. Thus, millions of people living in rural areas cross the threshold of absolute poverty every day. Poverty also affects the developed countries with liberal economies, where all the sectors of the population which are unable to compete are pushed aside. All the economic, social and cultural rights of the poor are thus violated or simply disregarded without any effort being made to interrupt the process. In this case, the economic base is a constituent part of the individual's right. The same applies to women, old people and workers. It should be recalled that the United Nations and its specialized agencies have, with the participation of the Member States, prepared a series of international instruments aimed at combating and eliminating the ills suffered by these groups. Drafting a legal instrument is one thing, however, and applying it is another. The economic protection of vulnerable groups is an essential prerequisite for the realization of their economic rights. This obligation, for which the States and the international community are responsible, has often been and may long continue to be ignored in view of the lack of will on all sides.