Media Collection | What are Global Social Rights?

A Video Series by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Geneva

The Right to Food

Well over 700 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. Why is that?


COVID19, climate change and conflict coupled with structural problems such as poverty, inequality, unsustainable food systems, lack of investment in agriculture and rural development or inadequate safety nets have made the goal of zero hunger set in the 2030 Agenda an unattainable goal. In many hunger-affected regions, the fight against hunger has come to a standstill or even reversed. According to current Global Hunger Indes projections, the global community - especially 47 countries - will not achieve low hunger levels by 2030.

In view of this, the international community and also the United Nations should have initiated the overdue trend reversal long ago, but the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York on 23 September 2021 clearly missed this target, according to a large part of civil society. Instead of addressing the causes of hunger and working out solutions, disproportionate space was given to the profit-oriented interests of corporations and banks, but also philanthropic organisations. Yet they are often the very actors that promote an intensive industrial model of agriculture and thus exacerbate the global food and climate crisis.

Instead, the decisions about what the right ways out of the crisis are must be made with the people. This means transforming the global food system by putting control over resources such as seeds, water and land in the hands of farmers, providing access to markets, knowledge and capital, and strengthening social movements and self-organisation of rural workers, smallholders and other marginalised groups in rural areas. Fundamental to this is the concept of food sovereignty.

Health is a Human Right

Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of health in order to lead a life in dignity


We have to address the root causes of health inequality. The first and foremost is to fight profiteering in the health sector. Privatization of hospitals, pharmaceutical industry’s greedy pricing, the ever-increasing influence of private entities on global health decisions – all these are issues at the core of the current unjust health systems worldwide.

A healthy future for all of us will be based on social and environmental justice.

The Freedom of Movement

No one flees voluntarily: wars, persecution, violence, poverty or the climate crisis force people to leave their homes


Migration is not a temporary phenomenon. Every modern society in this world is also the result of human mobility. Yet migration has become one of the most divisive issues of our time.

The number of people fleeing war, conflict and persecution has never been higher. Large-scale flight movements from the various conflict areas create flight routes that are used by a large number of displaced persons in search of protection. There are hardly any safe refugee routes anywhere in the world. Instead, people on the run embark on life-threatening escape routes in search of a safe place.

But instead of protecting people who are fleeing, the global North is fencing itself off. It invests more and more in so-called “border protection” and watches the refugees die without taking action – not only in the Mediterranean, but also at the border between Mexico and the USA. Once again, this hopeless situation is particularly dramatic for the most vulnerable – women with small children, unaccompanied minors, the elderly and the sick. Under inhumane conditions, these refugees are often stuck in underfunded refugee camps for years, with no chance of local integration, no prospect of returning to their home country, and no possibility of reaching a safe third country.

The fact that a state grants protection to refugees is not a nice gesture. According to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to asylum. Granting protection to refugees is a humanitarian obligation. The global North in particular should set an example here. Because safe and legal escape routes must be negotiated and worked out. Safe and legal escape routes protect refugees from violence, misery and death. In general, we must defend the right to freedom of movement for those who want to live in another country and the freedom to stay at home for those who had to flee.

The Right to Peace

Peace is more than the absence of war


Modern violent conflicts have not only direct but also indirect and structural causes. In most cases, multi-layered direct and indirect aspects play a role. Many of these can be considered more at the national, domestic level, such as political discrimination, human rights violations and inequitable distribution; others need to be analysed at the regional and/or global level, such as proxy wars, consequences of climate change and environmental damage, competition for sales markets and global resources, free trade agreements, etc.

These deeper levels of violent conflicts make it not only difficult to understand and analyse conflicts, but also – and above all – to pursue a meaningful and multi-layered approach to peace policy that takes these aspects into account and does not only aim at stopping direct violence. The term “positive peace” considers these aspects and aims at a state in which not only direct violence is stopped, but also indirect and structural forms of violence are eliminated in a preventive and sustainable way.

Causes of conflict in recent decades, which a policy of positive peace must therefore consider, analyse and criticise, are: Political discrimination, human rights violations, unjust socio-economic distribution, the relations of cooperation and competition between states and state blocs for sales markets and global resources in the capitalist world economy, the Western policy of free trade, geopolitical interest politics that quickly escalate local conflicts into proxy wars, or climate change, which is leaving swathes of land desolate and, as a central cause of flight, promoting distribution conflicts. All these things fall under the heading of causes of conflict that must be addressed preventively if peace is to be more than just the temporary absence of war. A politics of left alternatives to violence therefore aims at transformation in the long term, at the conditions of a positive peace, where social and transformative justice is the precondition for a lasting ceasefire.