States to develop social contracts that safeguard and promote our rights and responsibilities as citizens, in respect of the internationally recognised core body of human rights, including civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights and beyond, as trustees of future generations.
Violations of basic human rights continue to plague our societies in spite of the vast legal progress for their recognition and protection following the UN Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Across the world, many still lack the fulfilment of their key rights as listed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A treaty-based charter is founded on the principle of sovereign equality among states and is legally binding between them. In addition to the three named above which together make up the ‘International Bill of Human Rights,’ the following are recognised as key foundations of our human rights:
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979
- Convention Against Torture, 1984
- Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989
- International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, 1992
- International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006
Our rights are also counterbalanced by responsibilities. On the one hand, States must ensure that the respect of human rights is not an empty proclamation but an unquestionable practice. On the other, we too have a responsibility to preserve our planetary home for our children and generations to come. There is no right to the impossible and without effective planetary stewardship, hard-fought rights will become impossible to maintain on a ravaged planet.
Guaranteeing our basic rights and responsibilities, permeates the vision of a future-just world and is core to our recommended law-making methodology. Effective policy-making may at first to appear focused primarily on our environmental, economic or resource crises but has undoubtedly incorporated consideration of our core rights and responsibilities. Rather than compartmentalising such challenges, an interconnected approach to decision-making, which integrates the respect of fundamental human rights, will ensure that the implementation of sustainable solutions leads to urgent progress in all our causes.
Future Policy Award
In 2014 and 2015, the Future Policy Award has highlighted future-just policy solutions which guarantee our basic rights and responsibilities.
One in three women worldwide suffers some form of violence in her lifetime. By restricting women’s choices and limiting their ability to act, the persistence of violence against women has serious consequences for peace and security, economic development and poverty reduction. Policy solutions must empower women and girls, build respectful relationships and foster an environment conducive to gender equality.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1989, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. For the first time, internationally accepted standards were established to protect and promote the rights of girls and boys. The Convention is the most adopted of all key human rights instruments – ratified by all UN member states except South Sudan and the United States.
However, children’s rights are still not guaranteed worldwide. Approximately 300 million children still go to bed hungry every night, many face violence, exploitation and abuse. Some 20 million children under the age of 18 are refugees and around 85 million children are forced into exploitative work.
The World Future Council also partners with the Zero Project on an annual basis to highlight exemplary policy and practice to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
WFC and the Zero Project
In 2015, the fourth Zero Project Conference, convened by the Essl Foundation, the World Future Council and the European Foundation Centre at the UN Vienna, Austria highlighted 50 Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices on the topic of 'Independent Living and Political Participation.'