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Is Subsistence A Basic Right?

Decent Essays
Sabren Abdulwahab
Professor Gardner Bovingdon
Human Rights in World Politics
25 September 2015
Is Subsistence a Basic Right? Subsistence is a basic right. However, it is often neglected when countries compose and declare laws and rights for their people. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written by the countries of United Nations in 1948, does not mention the rights to necessities of existence such as: food, water, shelter, etc (“The Universal Declaration”). Basic rights are a foundation for other rights to grow upon because it encompasses many different aspects of rights that humans need. Acknowledging subsistence as a basic right is imperative because it supports the need of rights to be secured to exist, fulfilled to access other rights, and protected and provided for people who are unable to access them.
There is an ongoing discourse about the concept of basic rights, and what is included within these rights. According to Henry Shue, basic rights have multiple responsibilities to each human being. They are supposed to protect individuals from political and economic forces and provide a defense to ensure our security and subsistence (Shue 1980: 18). Every human is owed these rights, yet millions are unable to enjoy any of them. Subsistence is a significant component of basic rights because it addresses the rights that are vital to existence. “The basic idea is to have available for consumption what is needed for a decent chance at a reasonable
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