Original Research

Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – ethically evaluated

Herm J.G. Zandman
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 40, No 3 | a351 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v40i3.351 | © 2006 Herm J.G. Zandman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2006 | Published: 30 July 2006

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Herm J.G. Zandman, Covenant College, Act, Australia

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This article considers the ethical difficulties presented by the United Nations “Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”. Initially, the Biblical principles regarding entering into covenant are elucidated. Next, the United Nations’ role in initiating global covenants is investigated in terms of what this body premises its mandate on. To follow is this particular covenant, presented as a case study. The weakness in the United Nations’ approach to treaties and covenants is that the bedrock on which such covenants is being established is notably and necessarily absent. This means that terminology, phrases and application ipso facto are determined on the basis of human presuppositions, rather than on the metaphysically implanted principles of God. Herein lies the basic flaw to what appears on the surface to be a noble approach. In a global setting, with many different worldviews elbowing for room, harmonised application of generically applauded concepts is difficult. The moment a generic concept such as “freedom” needs to be handled, it becomes value-laden. The question is then by whose values this concept is going to be handled. Usually, when consensus cannot be reached, majority will rule. This means that the very sovereignty of member states, supposedly safeguarded in the covenant, is being eroded. For Christians, majority rule is not an acceptable modus operandi. The Christian would support the principled approach to ethical issues. However, where the ethical basis is not articulated, the plethora of opinions (collective or individual) is left to act by. This creates a difficult political environment, for which a solution is hard to find. Yet, the Christian must continue to strive to honour his Lord by striving to be “light and salt” in this political scene.


Called To Be Salt And Light Christians; Ethical Framework Covenant; Principles For Engaging Into Covenants Scriptures; Multiplicity Of Worldviews United Nations


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