“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”
Art 25. Universal declaration of Human Rights
“(…) 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”
Article 11.International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights
There might be no better way to explain the fact that human progress does not depend on technology and the advance of time, than pointing out that
the basic needs since the dawn of humanity (to eat, to have a shelter, to be healthy) are still among the greatest challenges of our time. If nowadays 25.000 people (at least) die of hunger, millions die out of curable diseases, and hundreds of millions are homeless or live in slums in dangerous conditions, it is not because of technology. Enough food is produced, remedies exist and there is land and materials for everyone.
Human development depends more on how people decide to get organised and live together. That’s how citizens may build fair systems of governance and production. But also how citizens will manage to change unfair systems which threaten their basic rights.
If peasants worldwide are the ones who suffer more poverty (and landgrabbing and hunger) it is due to an unfair system. And it is also by getting organised that they are able to resist and change their reality with grassroots movements (like the MST in Brasil), which also unite together in the global network Via Campesina to fight for their cause internationally. When the financial crisis hit the poorest families in Europe, and hundreds of thousands of them were evicted from their houses, on
ly grassroots movements were able to stop these human rights violations, as La PAH did in Spain (our campaign had a Peace Action Week with La PAH on 2015). Such movements for housing rights gather together in Habitat International.
So it is all about getting organised and working together. The international voluntary service (IVS) movement is committed in these rights since it was founded and until nowadays. First international workcamp ever (by SCI
International) would reconstruct the houses of French and German villagers which were destroyed during WWI. Nowadays still organisations like Compagnons Batisseurs work through volunteering to guarantee housing conditions with dignity for everyone. Regarding food rights, thousands of environmental volunteering projects are run by IVS organisations worldwide, to encourage sustainable lifestyles and promote local and biological production.
And beyond workcamps, international campaigns are gathering international IVS networks to fight against climate change: Stop Climate Change (by NVDA and CCIVS), Create a Climate for Peace (by SCI), Let’s Root for Peace (by Alliance) have been united in the common initiative IVS Against Climate Change.
This joining together is also what we are trying to do with the Raising Peace Campaign, and the Global Human Rights week, to unite and organise together with stakeholders on Human Rights and Peace, to advocate for systemic changes that protect fundamental rights worldwide.
It is important to know that at the institutional level there are allies, and that an international system is there to protect our human rights (at the UN level, at regional and national levels), but more and more it is clear that it is civil society which needs to be vigilant. Otherwise, without organised pressure international treaties like the TTIP and CETA, would have never been stopped as it happened recently. Again activism and advocacy are key to advance on Human Rights.
From the IVS movement we are doing both: we work with local grassroots organisations, we train young people, and we advocate in the international level. But we need to work with you. Can we change together?
Events happening during the Global Human Rights Week related to the topic: