People have needs that must be met before they can be 'free'. Economic, social and cultural rights are as important as civil and political rights. All people need some basic services if they are to be healthy, feel secure, and be confident that their children will grow up in a safe world. Nobody is free who is ill or injured, homeless, or deprived an education.
Life expectancy at birth worldwide in 1990 was 61 years, in developed regions 74 years, in less developed regions 59 years, in Africa 51 years, in Sierra Leone (42) and highest in Japan (79).
People live longer when they have good health care and clean water. Neither can be taken for granted. For example, in Australia, a developed country whose city-dwelling population tends to take clean water for granted, the quality of the water supply is still problematic to many isolated and rural communities (especially some Aboriginal communities). Without care, every major cities' water supplies is vulnerable to contamination.
Health care is also a fundamental right. Today, 20 countries admit that less than half their population has access to good health care - 17 of these countries are in Africa. World-wide 1.1 billion people don't have access to clean drinking water, 2.9 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation.
Literacy is one of the keys to well-being. In 13 countries, 90% of children old enough to go to secondary school, don't. Their life choices are very limited. Education lifts horizons and opens up opportunities. The better-educated the mother (usually the primary care provider of young children) the healthier the family members. Yet in many countries children never learn to read or write, and discrimination ensures that far more women are illiterate than men. There is a direct link between women's education, and the relative financial security of their children.
There are many non-government and international agencies that try to deal with the ongoing economic needs of individuals and communities. But we know that to help one person will change nothing, if the cause of the illness, or homelessness, or ignorance, or misery, is not addressed.
World-wide many non-government aid agencies raise money through donations, from the goodwill of ordinary people, to try to assist in providing emergency-relief, development assistance, education, health care, and clean water programs for people in the developing world.
We all have a moral obligation to look at the causes of the violation of people's economic and social and cultural rights, and ask why they continue to be tolerated.
World Health Organisation
Community Aid Abroad