Social security: a fundamental right
The development of social security programmes and systems is one of the most significant social policy achievements of the 20th century. Nonetheless, the enhancement and extension of social security will remain major challenges for the decades to come.
Preamble to the ILO Constitution, 1919 (extracts)
Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice; And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently required; as, for example, by the regulation of the hours of work including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, the regulation of the labour supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provision of an adequate living wage, the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old age and injury.
Declaration of Philadelphia, 1944 (extracts)
Believing that experience has fully demonstrated the truth of the statement in the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation that lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice, the Conference affirms that:
The Conference recognizes the solemn obligation of the International Labour Organization to further among the nations of the world programmes which will achieve:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (articles 22 and 25)
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
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 and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 (Articles 9 and 10)
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance.
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that:
UN World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, 1995 (extracts)
We commit ourselves to the goal of eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive national actions and international cooperation, as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind.
To this end, at the national level, in partnership with all actors of civil society and in the context of a multidimensional and integrated approach, we will (…) develop and implement policies to ensure that all people have adequate economic and social protection during unemployment, ill health, maternity, child-rearing, widowhood, disability and old age;
International Labour Conference, Conclusions concerning social security, 2001 (extracts)
Social security is very important for the well-being of workers, their families and the entire community. It is a basic human right and a fundamental means for creating social cohesion, thereby helping to ensure social peace and social inclusion. It is an indispensable part of government social policy and an important tool to prevent and alleviate poverty. It can, through national solidarity and fair burden sharing, contribute to human dignity, equity and social justice. It is also important for political inclusion, empowerment and the development of democracy.
ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, 2008 (extracts)
Recognizing that achieving an improved and fair outcome for all has become even more necessary in these circumstances to meet the universal aspiration for social justice, to reach full employment, to ensure the sustainability of open societies and the global economy, to achieve social cohesion and to combat poverty and rising inequalities;
The Conference recognizes and declares that: In the context of accelerating change, the commitments and efforts of Members and the Organization to implement the ILO’s constitutional mandate should be based on the (…) strategic objectives of the ILO, which can be summarized as follows: (…)
developing and enhancing measures of social protection – social security and labour protection – which are sustainable and adapted to national circumstances, including (…) the extension of social security to all, including measures to provide basic income to all in need of such protection, and adapting its scope and coverage to meet the new needs and uncertainties generated by the rapidity of technological, societal, demographic and economic changes.