International Human Rights Day: a radical rules’ change is needed. People before profit!

International Human Rights Day: a radical rules’ change is needed. People before profit!

70 years ago, on 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration spelled out basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all human beings should enjoy.

All EU Member States have accepted the legally binding international obligations to promote and protect human rights, including economic and social rights.

However, 70 years after its adoption, people leaving in Europe still face major challenges in the full enjoyment of these rights, the space for civic activism is shrinking, working people find themselves in more and precarious jobs (and lives), gender equality is far from being reached and hundreds of people trying to reach Europe, dreaming of a better life, keep dying in the Mediterranean Sea.

Indeed, facts show that:

  • 118 million people (23.5% of the population) live in or are at risk of poverty or social exclusion[1];
  • 3.5 million young people are unemployed (15.3% in EU28);
  • Almost 9.6% of employed persons in the EU are working-poor[2];
  • 880 000 people are in forced labour in the EU, of which 58% are women and 30% are estimated to be victims of sexual exploitation[3];
  • The out-of-pocket share of total spending on health amounts to over 35% in Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

While this happens,

  • Some EU Heads of State and Government (including Austria which is holding the EU presidency) have identified migrants as enemies to fight and are withdrawing support to the Global Compact on Migration expected to be adopted between the 10 and 11 December in Marrakesh.
  • €904 billion a year are estimated to be lost to corruption across the EU. With this money, we could end poverty, provide access to essential services such as education and healthcare and sill have money left over (€360 billion).

This is the result of a model that has put profit before people and that sees people and the planet as mere production means.

Within this context, SOLIDAR believes that full realization of Human Rights needs a radical change of the rules to put people before profit. With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, UN members have agreed to make this shift happen. In the next days, they will have a great opportunity to walk the talk and show the world how serious they are about it: support the Global Compact on Migration this week in Marrakesh!


[1] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/People_at_risk_of_poverty_or_social_exclusion

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20180316-1

[3] https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---europe/---ro-geneva/---ilo-brussels/documents/genericdocument/wcms_184976.pdf

Related content