Article 24: Right to Rest and Leisure

  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

So far the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has stated the right to freedom from slavery as well as the right to work. This article follows up with the right to not work too much. Humans have the right to time away from work and other societal responsibilities. The right to paid holidays and a limitation on how many hours a week an employer can demand. All of this is important for the development of people’s personalities, which is mentioned in article 22. 

It is well documented that stress takes an enormous toll on physical and mental health. Stress has been linked as the cause of heart-diseases, obesity, diabetes, depression, and many other unpleasant side effects. This takes a toll on both the individual and society. This clearly speaks to the importance of time for rest and leisure. 

In spite of these scientific discoveries, many people across the globe do not enjoy their right to rest and leisure. Factories and other workspaces, mainly in south-east Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, are known for their inhumane working environments and violations of the number of work hours. They also go under the name Sweatshops. In some sweatshops, the workers work more than 100 hours a week and earn as little as 3 cents per. hour. Many work in old buildings with the risk of it collapsing on top of them. Many sweatshops also hire children. 

In article 23 the right to trade unions was explained. Here we see a lack of effective unions. The workers have no one to fight for their right to adequate pay, reasonable work hours, paid holiday, and time to rest. These conditions are what Unions actively try to prevent. In most western, developed countries these working conditions would be unimaginable. However, they unknowingly and indirectly contribute to the workers being kept in these conditions by purchasing from brands that use sweatshops. Popular brands like  Forever 21 and Primark have been linked to using sweatshops in order to keep their prices low. These violations happen in almost every country in the world, even in the richer ones. For example in Florida, USA, workers must pick more than two tons of tomatoes per day just to make the state minimum wage of $6/hour. They do not have weekends and they do not get paid for working overtime

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen and Natalia Colmenar

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