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Political Science


property, human rights


This article considers whether there should be a separate international Covenant to elaborate on the human right to own property. Citing two contemporary cases—namely,the semi-starvation faced by many citizens of Zimbabwe and the shortage of food in Venezuela—I argue that a human right to own property protects the economic human rights to adequate food and freedom from hunger. The right to own property is also crucial to the economic development necessary to ensure that human beings can supply themselves with food and otherwise support themselves. As such, it is a strategic human right, a right that protects other rights. I also argue that the right to own property is an intrinsic human right, valuable in itself as a component of human dignity. The article ends with a brief proposal for an elaborated Covenant on the human right to own property.