Welcome to Day 18 of our countdown! Today, we’ll be looking at Article 25 of the UDHR, which states that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and security during outstanding circumstances, such as sickness, disability, unemployment, and old age.
The fulfillment of Article 25 is contingent on a number of other economic, social, and cultural rights, such as the right to property, education, and fair wages (see also https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cescr.aspx). No one should have to live in such conditions where the only way to satisfy his or her basic needs is through degrading undertakings, such as forced labor, begging, and prostitution. Yet, according to the World Bank, YaleGlobal Online, and the Walk Free Foundation, in the world, over 750 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, no less than 150 million people are homeless, and an estimated 40 million have been victims of modern-day slavery.
Article 25 also mentions that mothers and children are entitled to special care and social protection. During and after pregnancy and birth, women should have access to high quality care and resources, an environment with safe delivering conditions, and paid maternity leave. However, there are a multitude of “hospitals” and locations around the world that are highly understaffed and under-resourced. Additionally, the U.S. still does not require employers to offer/guarantee paid leave. Paid leave, it is found, leads to outcomes such as a reduction in infant mortality and fewer depressive symptoms reported by the mother, and can have economic benefits as well (https://www.cnn.com/2015/10/29/health/paid-leave-benefits-to-children-research/index.html). Children especially need the attention and care during the crucial first several months of their lives.
The right to an adequate standard of living remains flexible and reflects the realities of our world as it progresses. However, its fundamental message will always persist: everyone’s basic needs should be met. Our government, along with we, the people, needs to take into account the many elements that impact the rights laid out in Article 25 and be aware of the various barriers marginalized populations face so that we can make accessibility and a high level of well-being more ubiquitous in our country and world.