Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Economic, social and cultural rights (ESC) are socio-economic human rights, different from civil and political rights. Economic, social and cultural rights are incorporated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and outlined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Examples of such rights include the right to food, the right to shelter, and the right to health.

According to Karel Vasak's theory of three generations of human rights, these rights are considered second-generation rights, and the theory of negative and positive rights considers ESC rights positive rights.

List of economic, social and cultural Rights

* Right to work
* Right to choice of employment
* Right to own property
* Right to adequate standards of living
* Right to access to education
* Right to found a family
* Right to respect and protection of the family
* Right to social security
* Right to social and medical assistance
* Right to adequate nutrition
* Right to social welfare benefits
* Right to enjoyment of scientific advancement
* Right to protection of health
* Right to protection of morals

Justicability

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights distinguishes ESC rights as together natural and legal rights, defining human rights as unchallengeable by nature while also issuing legal security. Signatories of the declaration are bound to the "recognition of the intrinsic dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

As of December, 2008, the International Covenant for Economic, Social, and Cultural rights had 160 parties. A further six countries had signed, but not yet ratified the Covenant. Some states have not signed the ICESCR, and are therefore unwilling to enshrine purported economic, social and cultural rights as legal rights. Other nations, such as the United States, have signed but not ratified, on the basis that the government may provide services if resources are available, but such rights are merely social goals. According tho Amnesty International, this was the view held by the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations following the official signing of the ICESCR during the Carter Administration. Research by the Heritage Foundation, a critical conservative think tank, argues that signing the ICESCR would obligate the introduction of policies such as universal health care, which are normally opposed by conservative groups. Further, only 31 States have signed the Optional Protocol (OP-ICESCR), which recognizes the competence of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural rights to consider complaints from individuals. Human rights advocates argue ratification and execution of OP-ICESCR is an essential component to ensure these rights.

The UDHR and ICESCR are not the only system recognizing economic, social, and cultural rights as fully justiciable. Many constitutions and human rights organizations around the world recognize ESC rights. For example, the 1996 South African Constitution includes economic, social and cultural rights; similar to the purpose of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the South African Constitutional Court has then heard claims under these obligations (see Grootboom and Treatment Action Campaign cases). India's Constitution, which does not explicitly recognize economic and social rights in their constitution, has however found that these rights exist, though unenumerated, inferable from the right to life. Lastly, networking groups such as ESCR-Net are working to create online resources and spread information about effective cases, initiatives, and working groups promoting ideals and celebrating victories of human rights initiatives and the Optional Protocol. Currently, human rights advocacy groups are working diligently to fine-tune rules, regulations and implementation schemes; little news of complaint successes or failures is available.

reference - wikipedia

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