Article 25: Right to Adequate Standard of Living

  • Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of 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.
  • 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.

As explained in article 22, all humans have the right to social security which most countries fund by taxes. This article goes into more detail about what exactly is needed to achieve adequate standards of living. The essential point of this right is that everyone must be able to be a full participant of society, and in order to be able to do so, their basic needs must be covered. One cannot work or otherwise engage in society, develop as a person or live a dignified life without food, clothes, or a roof over their head. Disabled, homeless, sick, elderly, children, and other exposed groups who are not able to support themselves are entitled to support from the state, in order to secure adequate living conditions. In other words, the state needs to provide a safety net for its citizens in circumstances that are out of individual control. However, not all countries provide this for their citizens. In countries with poor national social security, losing a job or getting in an accident can destroy a person’s life. Without social security, many people will live in debt and poverty from drowning in medical bills, no financial help for disabilities, no child support, taking care of their elderly, etc. 

The non-profit organization Social Progress Imperative has ranked countries living standards from 0-100 based on three parameters:

  •  Basic human needs: medical care, sanitation, shelter etc.
  •  Foundations of well-being: education, technology, life expectancy etc.
  •   Opportunity: Personal rights, tolerance, freedom of choice etc.

The country with the worst quality of life, according to this list, is the Central African Republic with a score of barely above 30. The Social Progress Imperative finds that: “The country with the lowest standard of living for its citizens is the Central African Republic (CAR), according to the SPI. Its scores are low across the board, from water, shelter, nutrition, and education. The worst is the “personal rights,” sub-index at only 2.27, suggesting that even if a nation is resource-rich — CAR has huge mineral and oil reserves — not everyone benefits.”

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen and Natalia Colmenar

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