Humankind – the new legal subject

The question “What is humankind?” at first seems trivial, perfectly obvious and unnecessary. However, if we examine deeper the popular hypothesis for origin of humans, we will stumble across inadequacy and vagueness. Presently are popular conjectures about the origins of life which are persuading us that humans have been primates and four billion years ago they even had a common ancestor with all other species, including with the plants. Today are publicly presented also ancient astronaut theories in which is described the population of Earth from representatives of different stellar races.

In order to define what humankind is, it is not enough to collect all known nations, tribes and civilizations from Ancient times until today. All social cultures on Earth are composed by humans and regulate human life, but it does not mean that their societies were acting congruently with the interest of humankind.

The cultural specifics of a tribe, nation or a civilization are an important historical heritage for the fact how this collective had treated humankind. It is evident from the social and religious norms, legal system, attitudes towards other people, who are foreigners, etc. Therefore there are two different and intertwined group subjects – the first is the nation, the second – humankind.

Consideration of humankind as a separate legal subject with its own legal interest is a comparatively new concept, which is a direct continuation of the process of humanizing the law and international relations in the last decades. This humanizing includes mainly the recognition that human have rights and freedoms and setting these principles as peremptory norms (jus cogens) in the legal systems of most states. Despite this positive direction of development of the civilization, the main driving force is still the service to self. The methods and means of organizing the state are in contradiction with the service to the whole and with abiding the interests of all participants.

What is the legal status of humankind presently?

In the contemporary international law we encounter the terms “humankind”, “mankind” and “humanity” in few of the most prominent international treaties: The UN Charter; The Outer Space Treaty; The Convention of International Maritime Organization; The Antarctic Treaty; The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and others. Although the term “humankind” is used, there is not an official legal definition of it and what is in its legal significance.

Every group of people, without regards whether it exists as a legal entity or not, represents a manifestation of a specific community. It has its own social program which it desires to complete and its own interest which it protects. The group should be capable to organize its members and interacts with other groups in order to realize its objectives and fulfill its mission with which it is created.

On this basis, when we compare different groups of people, we clearly see that humankind is a primal group entity, without which could not emerge all social human structures including states, peoples, nations, religious organizations, companies, parties, universities, clubs, families, etc. Neither of these communities at this level of development can exist without humans. This means that the interest of humankind should be placed higher in the hierarchy of group interests in relation to the enumerated communities. This means that the actions of all them should not be in contradiction with the interests of humankind.

We can bring out the following definition of humankind:

Humankind is a primal group entity which includes all human beings, who have lived, are presently living, or who would be born in the future. Humankind perceives every human being as its unique manifestation, who is equally valuable with all others.

This definition provides the basic characteristics of humankind and leads to the important conclusion that the sum of all states and nations does not constitute humankind, does not have representative authority for humankind and cannot be an expression of the interests of humankind.

Neither the United Nations, nor the so called international community, nor any international organization, informal structure and, or state have the legal right to represent legally and politically humankind. Furthermore, until now neither of these subjects had declared that they will be compliant to the interests of humankind and they are violating it and ignoring it.

If we regard the UN as a legal subject, we see that it is an international organization in which national interests are cohered. The arithmetic sum of all national interests is not at equal to the interest of humankind. Typical examples for the disparity between the kind of interests(the total of all nations and the one of humankind) is the way the Earth environment is used, inhumane treatment of large groups of people, exploitation of natural resources without taking into consideration the future generations; waging wars between nations.

Concrete examples are the aims of the UN, which are described in the strategic document Millennium Development Goals. They set a target “to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. Such a target does not correspond with the holistic vision for humankind and demonstrates the weakness of the current international system of service to the self in which the national and corporate interests are pursued in violation of the interest of humankind.

From the view point of the humankind access to clean water is a basic need for all humans which should be satisfied anteriorly and before economic resources and human labor is used for any other purposes.

Achieving a specific proportion or statistically acceptable result which UN desires is not a measure for humanity which can be reliable or acceptable for humankind. It is because the death of people in misery, who do not have access to clean water, will be in favor of these statistics, but in contrast with the interest of humankind.

These goals of UN, which should be guiding for global governance of the world, demonstrate that the targets which this organization set are not necessarily in correspondence with the interest of humankind. More importantly, even if the targets of UN are humane, the UN does not have the authority and real competences to implement them or to exercise monitoring over their implementation. The UN serves only as a forum for discussions for the states and this means that qualitatively new legal organization is needed to represent humankind and its interest.

All states exploit the resources on their own territory as well as the resources which are common heritage of mankind (outer space and the seabed) depending on their own national policies of environmental protection of Earth and their development policies. The economic benefit from these resources are distributed on market principles which means that inequality is dominating and the future generations are not taken into consideration at all.

Another example of a significant contradiction between the national interests and the interest of humankind is the recourse to war for settling international disputes. From the view point of humankind every war is unacceptable and extremely undesirable, because humans are dying, without regards their citizenship, political views, religious believes, etc.

Scheme 2 – Humankind, countries, corporations




The definition of the humankind as a group entity which includes all human beings means that every human has a direct bond with it.

All races, ethnicities and nations which have existed and still exist can be perceived as important cultural and anthropologic aspects of humankind which create its diversity. Traditions and cultural specifics of certain societies can be evaluated according to how well they satisfy the human interests and how are seriously they were violating them. For example societies in which slavery was institutionalized are incongruous with the humanistic ideals of humankind and their structures are in contradiction to human development. Without regards the economic, scientific, technological and military development of states, if their actions are inhumane, they are violating the interests of humankind.

From philosophical point of view humankind is clearly defined group entity and for everyone it is evident that it exists. From juridical point, however, arise two questions: “Is humankind a legal subject and can it become a legal subject?” The necessity a group entity to be a legal subject comes from the circumstance that it will protect in the best way its own interest and it has the right to be free, differentiated and represented. Only after its emerging as a legal subject, a group entity can appoint representatives who are supposed to protect its interests and to act on its behalf.

In order a community to be legally established, it should be able to have legal capacity and sui juris: to be able to express its will through its organ, to be capable to assume rights and obligations, including entering into treaties. Presently, because of the lack of such prerequisites, the humankind is not a subject of law.

In relation to the second question: “Can humankind become a legal subject”, we should note that such a possibility do exist and at the same time it is much needed.

The legal “birth” of humankind should be via the establishment of organ which may be called: “Authority of humankind”. It is important to stress that such an organ should be functioning as a holistic organization, which means taking into account and optimally protect the interests of the whole, including those of the other subjects of the holistic model.

The efforts to prevent all forms of possible ineffective functioning of the organ or misappropriation of official status of its representatives should be made before its establishing.

Differentiation of humankind as sovereign above-national legal subject will contribute significantly for the peaceful existence and prosperity of all nations, of all cultures, languages and humane cultural traditions.

The Authority of Humankind would not degrade the humane development of nations, but on the contrary – it will guarantee it. All military actions, forms of disrespect of human rights and economic subjugation of large groups of people are deeds not in the interests of humankind and of flourishing of national cultures. This is because the prosperity of every nation is possible only if is present a prosperity of the people in the corresponding state.

1.1.The human bond

The human bond is the fundament from which is shaped the concept of united humankind. This is the genetic bond between the individual and the group entity, thanks to which a person can be recognized as a human being. It exists, more precisely, it manifests from the moment a person is born and becomes a biological part of the human family. This bond gives us grounds to review humankind as a primary group entity. All races, ethnicities and nations are secondary in relation to humankind and can be regarded as its aspects. Because of the fact that before we are representatives of and race or nation, we are representatives of humankind and it is necessary all people to be aware of the bond which they do have with it. Through understanding of the nature of the human bond, the person is stimulated to know and respect the interests of all humankind.

We can compare the human bond with the citizenship which is another significant bond between the citizen and the state. In this comparison we will find that the last is secondary, because it is related to a secondary political organization which is the state and citizenship can be given, taken or abandoned under certain conditions. It is evident that a human being cannot be denied or refuse to have a human bond with a simple declaration, because it is genetic and therefore humankind – primary subject. Due to these specifics the legal interests of humankind should be recognized as such from a higher character with a priority of satisfaction over those of the state. This conclusion is very important in order to be able to see with different eyes – those of humankind, what it means two states to wage a war between them. This is an act of suicide from the view point of humankind.

The deliberation of the issue of the bond of the human with the humankind is especially topical when we see the fast development of bio-technologies and in particular the possibilities of human cloning and creation of hybrid individuals. Without any doubt we have to conclude that every cloned individual is equal and would have the same rights as all other human beings. Cloned individuals are/would be inseparable part of humankind.

Despite the fact that the Latin root of the word homo is related to the word humus, which mean “earth” and human beings literally means – “earthly beings” in the future humans may be born outside planet Earth. Such a possibility exists to some extend today too, considering the fact that presently people can dwell permanently space stations.

On theoretical level there is no doubt that human beings that would be born beyond Earth do possess a human bond, consequently are part of humankind and should be treated as equals to all other human beings. The relevant criterion is that a human is born from another human and has human genes, which means that there should not be a territorial principle, which limits humankind only to our planet.

The recognition of the human bond is necessary also from legal perspective, because it will clarify and systemize the system of human rights and we provide legal protection of all humans from infringement of these rights from states, private organizations or other humans. Precisely the legal recognition of the human bond will proclaim phenomena like slavery, war, death penalty, forced labor and other inhumane treatment as legally prohibited. It would not be necessary a nation to be evolved enough to respect all human rights, so that humane legislation start to emerge.

Would it be possible the newly adopted legal institute of the human bond to exist in parallel with the citizenship of a certain state?

If humankind is recognized as a legal subject with its organ which represents it and with its clearly defined legal interest which it aims to fulfill, then this will lead to the emerging of the legal institute of the human bond.

The existence of states as political organizations parallel with the Authority of Humankind requires the human bond to be acknowledged as a legal institute that is side by side with citizenship. Presently, it is possible a human being to have more than one citizenship, which provides him with rights and duties to more than one state.

The recognition of the human bond will lead to granting larger package of human rights with which every state will have to conform. The basic argument for recognizing humankind as above national legal subject, which stands higher than all states and which interests are with priority over all national interests, is in the fact that the human bond is primary for the human being, while citizenship is secondary.

The legal institute of the human bond would contribute to be solved the legal ineffectiveness and disorder when there are violations of human rights. Presently, one state may choose whether to sign and ratify an international treaty for human rights, to determine which rights will be protected and which may not be. The institute of the human bond, respectively the emerging of humankind as a legal subject, would regulate human rights as obligations that states have to representatives of humankind and not to their citizens, or foreign citizens. These obligations would not come from its legislation and absence of ratifications or internal legislation cannot be an excuse for human rights violation.

Another strong argument for the higher status of humankind in relation to states and corporations is that it includes all human beings and its historical roots go beyond the history of any nation or private subject. In modern days states cannot function without representatives of humankind, while humans have lived and would be able to in other organizational forms, which are not necessarily states.

1.2.Future and past generations of humankind

In the definition of humankind are included also human beings, who were living in the past and those who might be born in the future.

The inclusion of past generations in the scope of humankind means, in the first place, that it is necessary to take actions through which to be objectively researched the history of humankind, to be protected the cultural and historic heritage and access to this information to be freely provided to everyone.

Secondly, the historical review will help to draw important conclusions on issues like ill functioning states and religious organizations are trampling on human rights and oppressing freedoms and knowledge. These conclusions will help humanity to get rid of such primitive and inhuman organizational models.

The research and protection of historical and cultural heritage does not necessarily mean that the respective groups of people were acting in the interest of humankind. Turning back to history we see how many wars, bloodshed and other form of inhumane aggression was done from most tribes and nations, but this does not mean that the memory for them should not be preserved.

Knowing and rationalizing the flaws and achievements of the past generations is inseparable part of the development of the civilization and is an important component of the interest of humankind.

The right of a human being to know his origins and history should be recognized as legally protected human right. Respectively, hiding of historical facts and events, as well as, their deliberate incorrect presentation and interpretation, are acts in violation of the interest of humankind. Such actions should be prohibited to be performed by all states and eventually by the future Authority of Humankind.

The future generations are also part of humankind and this should be taken into account by a future organ in the process of formulating the interest of humankind. This means that exploitation of resources in a way which is beneficial for humans and for the environment should be also performed in long term plan with the aim to be left sufficient resources for the future generations, but also for all other subjects of the holistic model. Long term planning, which includes also the future generations, is key principle for developing of branches like ecology, planetary management of resources and protection of cultural and natural heritage of humankind, preservation of Earth and reasonable exploitation of outer space.

Through this vision of other generations are created bridges between past, present and future. In this way we can understand more fully the interest of humankind and to set a balance rhythm of social development in which every person could have the opportunity to live happily and freely. Happiness is a personal choice and internal condition, but the favorable outer environment and maintenance of harmonious social relationships can be instrumental for achieving this goal and a right of every person. Placing the individual happiness of humans as a goal in front of the community, is important, if this community desires to manage its resources efficiently. These resources will be used to protect the rights and satisfy the needs of all its members equally.

1.3.The interest of humankind

The clear defining of the interest of humankind is of crucial importance in order to be placed the right aims and to set the principles and methods for their realization. In its scope are included those values which are fundamental for humanism. For example, from the view point of humankind all human beings are its equally important manifestations and therefore the right to live should be protected for all people, including those who are committing crimes and inhumane deeds. The using of military force against people should be a last resort action which is again violation of the interest of humankind. It would be reasonable to adopt global legal mechanisms to guarantee that all international disputes will be solved peacefully.

We can bring out a few of the main principles which are an integral part of the interest of humankind:

  1. All human beings are equally important manifestation of humankind and possess equal human rights, including economic.
  2. Humankind should have the resources to guarantee the protection of the human rights of everyone, without regards his/her citizenship, gender, race, economic status or any other features.
  3. Humankind should encourage the use of humane methods for interaction with every human being who will be introduced with the interest of humankind and the opportunity to recognize them as his own.
  4. Humankind aims to provide more favorable environment for development of the future generations.
  5. Humankind is obligated to research its history and make it freely available to everyone.
  6. Humankind perceives Earth as a planet with which it has special connection. Extraction and use of its resources should be performed in ecological way which protects the interest of the Earth, the animals and the plants.
  7. The exploration and exploitation of outer space, including all celestial bodies should be executed in a way which is not harmful for their ecosystem and integrity. The resources from outer space are already recognized for province of all mankind and should be used in a way which protects in the best way the interests of humankind.

With the emergence of humankind as a legal subject, it should be legally acknowledged that its interest is superior to those of all national and corporate interests. It is because, at this level of development states cannot function without humans and it is the sovereign right of the last to organize themselves and establish an Authority of humankind and demand human rights protection from all states.

The way a corporation is obligated to conform its behavior to the relevant national legislation, the states should comply their national policies towards human beings without violating the principles set by the organ which is representing humankind. The result of such compliance will be that all national interests will be legitimate and permissible if they do not violate the interest of humankind.

Achieving a level of consciousness that before we are citizens of a certain state, we are human beings, who have common appurtenance with all others is possible only after personal efforts and free conviction and cannot be a vision, imposed over anyone.

Clarification of the service to humankind and of the obligations of states should not be considered as unpatriotic and derogatory attitude towards national interests. On the contrary, humanity is already recognized globally as essential thread for adopting a national interest. The recognition of humankind as superior legal subject to the state is also a civil position for the development of the society.

Presently are absent the clear criteria for determining of the national interests and states are competing with ostensible threads and named enemies on national and international level, instead of being focused on improving the life of representatives of humankind.

All organizational forms of people should formulate their interest without violating the interest of humankind, if human beings who are related with these organizations declare that they are acknowledging the Authority of humankind as representative organ. This is valid for all states, international organizations, corporations and other private organizations.

The creation of an Authority of humankind would be a major shift in international relations, because human beings would be finally represented. Major conflicts may be solved and not exploited for egoistic national and corporate interests.

Such an organ would not be burdened with one-sided civilizational ties with certain states or religions, but it will be responsible to protect the interest of all humankind and to contribute for the peaceful solving of international disputes.

The next important competency that the organ should have is related to ownership of patents to inventions and the obligation to facilitate their free use in the interest of humankind. Even today such inventions and technologies do exist, which could be easily introduced to all people and which will result in improving the quality of their life and their health.

© Aleksandar Milanov, 2016

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