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Part III Substantive Guarantees, 9 Protection of Human Existence: Right to Life and Subsistence Rights

From: The Law of International Human Rights Protection (2nd Edition)

Walter Kälin, Jörg Künzli

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Right to life — Right to food

This chapter focuses on the right to life and subsistence rights. The right to life is generally characterized as one of the most fundamental human rights. Despite its name (right to life) it does not guarantee human existence as such. Rather, it protects against deprivation of life by state action or as a consequence of its omissions. Although the right is non-derogable in times of a public emergency, the right to life is not absolute. Access to the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and minimum medical treatment is equally relevant if not even more important for survival in situations where such access is being blocked or where basic goods are simply not available. It follows that the right to life not only as a civil and political right but also as part of economic, social, and cultural rights plays a major role in safeguarding human existence.

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