Article 22: Right to Social Security

  •  Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 22 lays the ground for the next five articles. These articles articulate the social, economic, and cultural rights of humans. The responsibility is placed in the hands of the state, which has the duty to provide and protect its citizens in regards to these rights. It is up to the state to provide education, favorable working conditions, thriving culture, the opportunity to develop one’s full personality, and an adequate standard of life for all. In the modern-day, this is called a welfare state. Welfare states protect the health and well beings of their citizens.

So how does a state do this?  Most countries do this through national social security- and healthcare systems. This can include financial support if you are unable to work, paid maternity leave, pension for the elderly, child protection, if you are disabled you can get the necessary appliances, etc. It essentially means that the state is creating a safety net for its citizens by providing what is necessary in order to live in honor and to develop as a person. Healthcare systems around the world are very different, as it depends on the resources but also the mindset of the country. Countries fund social benefits and healthcare services through taxes. This is why countries with very high tax-rates, for example, the Scandinavian countries, have a very strong healthcare and social security system, but each citizen also pays a lot of their personal income in taxes. On the other hand, in countries where the tax rate is lower, citizens will often have to pay more for healthcare themselves. 

Strong social security – and healthcare systems promote more equal societies, by helping the most exposed groups of the population. If there is no safety-net for people who experience hard times, it possibly creates a gap between rich and poor and therefore an unequal and divided population. The rich will, as an example, be able to afford their own healthcare while the poor will not, oftentimes making them even poorer. That is one of the reasons why good social security programs and healthcare systems play a vital part in the economic and social cohesion of a population. It promotes equality and growth in countries by helping the most exposed groups of society.

So not only does this right secure a citizen’s right to benefit from its state, but also the ability to live in dignity and to develop their person, even if they have a disadvantage or face various challenges throughout their lives.

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen

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