Right to an adequate standard of living

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Freedom from want)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Freedom from Want" redirects here. For other uses, see Freedom from Want (painting).

The right to an adequate standard of living is recognized as a human right in international human rights instruments and is understood to establish a minimum entitlement to food, clothing and housing at a subsistence level. The right to food and the right to housing have been further defined in human rights instruments.

The right to an adequate standard of living is enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[1] The most significant inspiration for the inclusion of the right to an adequate standard of living in the UDHR was the Four Freedoms speech by US President Franklin Roosevelt, which declared amongst others the freedom from want. Fulfillment of the right to an adequate standard of living depends on a number of other economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to property, the right to work, the right to education and the right to social security. There have been a number of proposed policies to guarantee people a basic standard of living through the concept of offering a basic income guarantee essentially gifting all citizens a basic level of "free money" in order to meet basic needs such as food and shelter.

Definition[edit]

Norman Rockwell's illustration of The Four Freedoms: OURS... to fight for: Freedom from Want

The most significant inspiration for the inclusion of the right to an adequate standard of living in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was the 1941 Four Freedoms speech by US President Franklin Roosevelt, which declared freedom of speech, freedom of faith, freedom from want and freedom from fear.[2] On the basis of the speech the American Law Institute established a draft proposals for an international bill of rights, the Statement of Essential Human Rights, which greatly influenced the UDHR.[3] The statement included the right to adequate food and housing and the right to social security, including the right to health.[4] Article 25 of the UDHR recognises the right to an adequate standard of living, stating that:

"(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All Children, whether born in or out of wedlock shall enjoy the same social protection."[5]

The UDHR establishes that the realisation of the right to an adequate standard of living requires as a minimum the enjoyment of subsistence rights, that is adequate food and nutrition, clothing, housing and care when required.[6] The UDHR recognises that the right to an adequate standard of living will require different measures depending on the situation of a person. It specifies that persons who are unable to secure the enjoyment of conditions necessary for an adequate standard of living have a right to care. Article 25 is closely related to Article 22 of the UDHR, which explicitly enshrines the right to social security. Article 25 also specifically mentions the rights of children born out of wedlock, which historically have been subject to discrimination.[7]

The nature of the right to an adequate standard of living was further defined in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),[8] which defines the right to an adequate standard of living in two paragraphs. Paragraph one states that:

"The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent."[9]

Medical care and health, which were included in the UDHR under the right to an adequate standard of living, were included in Article 12 of the ICESCR under the right to health.[10] Rights relating to motherhood are recognised in Article 10 of the ICESCR on the protection of the family.[11] When the ICESCR was drafted increased malnutrition was an urgent international concern, giving Article 11 an overall emphasis on food.[12] Paragraph two of Article 11 states that:

"The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take, individually and through international co-operation, the measures, including specific programmes, which are needed: (a) To improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources; (b) Taking into account the problems of both food-importing and food-exporting countries, to ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need."[13]

As such Article 11 of the ICESCR establishes two human rights, the right to be free from hunger, known as the right to food, and the right to an adequate standard of living, specifically in relation to subsistence rights to clothing, housing and food.[14] The ICESCR requires as a minimum that the subsistence rights are protected by the state. The right to food and the right to housing have subsequently been defined as independent rights in other human rights instruments.[15] Other aspects of the right to an adequate standard of living, such as the right to clothing have not received such attention, nor development.[16] <The ICESC makes it clear that states must take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of the right to an adequate standard of living, by for example requiring the state to take the necessary measures to ensure that hunger does not occur.[17]

The right to an adequate standard of living is also enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which aimed to create conditions under which women and mothers would be economically secure and independent. The Convention requires states to end discrimination against women in relation to employment and other economic activities.[18] The right to an adequate standard of living is reiterated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child with Article 27 recognising ever child's right to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. The parents of the child have primary responsibility to secure this right within their abilities, while the state must take appropriate steps to assist parents and others responsible for children. States must if necessary provide material assistance, particularly in relation to nutrition, clothing and housing.[19]

Relationship with other rights[edit]

Overall the right to an adequate standard of living is understood as a social right, which requires respect for a number of other economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education as enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the right to property, which is enshrined in Article 17 of the UDHR, the right to work as enshrined in Article 23 of the UDHR and Article 6 of the ICESCR, and the right to social security as enshrined in Article 22 of the UDHR and Article 25 of the ICESCR.[20] When the right to property, the right to work and the right to social security, three core economic rights, are implemented in combination, it is assumed that an adequate standard of living can normally be secured.[21]

The right to private property was a crucial demand in early quests for political freedom and equality, and against feudal control of property. Property can serve as the basis for the entitlements that ensure the realisation of the right to an adequate standard of living. Initially only property owners were granted civil and political rights, such as the right to vote. The right to work was enshrined to allow those who do not own property to attain an adequate standard of living.[22] Today discrimination on the basis of property ownership is recognised as a serious threat to the equal enjoyment of human rights by all and non-discrimination clauses in international human rights instruments frequently include property as a ground on the basis of which discrimination is prohibited (see the right to equality before the law).[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bourquain, Knut (2008). Freshwater access from a human rights perspective: a challenge to international water and human rights law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 137. ISBN 978-90-04-16954-8. 
  2. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 524. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  3. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 527. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  4. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 528. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  5. ^ "Universal declaration of Human Rights". United Nations. 
  6. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 523. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  7. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 524. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  8. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 523. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  9. ^ "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 
  10. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 530. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  11. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 532. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  12. ^ Bourquain, Knut (2008). Freshwater access from a human rights perspective: a challenge to international water and human rights law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 137. ISBN 978-90-04-16954-8. 
  13. ^ "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 
  14. ^ Bourquain, Knut (2008). Freshwater access from a human rights perspective: a challenge to international water and human rights law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 137. ISBN 978-90-04-16954-8. 
  15. ^ Clause, Richard Piierre; Weston, Burns H. (2006). Human rights in the world community: issues and action. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-8122-1948-7. 
  16. ^ Dr Stephen James, "A Forgotten Right? The Right to Clothing in International Law"
  17. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 530. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  18. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 531–532. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  19. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 533. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  20. ^ Clause, Richard Piierre; Weston, Burns H. (2006). Human rights in the world community: issues and action. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-8122-1948-7. 
  21. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 523. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  22. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 533. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5. 
  23. ^ Alfredsson, Gudmundur; Eide, Asbjorn (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a common standard of achievement. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 372. ISBN 978-90-411-1168-5.