Economic, social and cultural rights - ESCR

Source: ESCR-net
The goal of this resource is to serve as an advocacy tool for engagement with the CEDAW and ESCR Committees to more explicitly recognize the implementation of ESCR as a strategy to increase women's equality. March 2010. [see more]
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights. It equally recognises civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Political circumstances related to the Cold War divided this whole into civil and political (CP) rights on the one hand and economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights on the other.

ESC rights have also been regarded as second-class rights. It has been shown, however, that without the adequate living conditions that these rights ensure CP rights cannot be fulfilled.

What do we mean by Economic, Social and Cultural rights? They include:

• Fair and safe working conditions for workers;
• The right to seek and choose work;
• The right to form, join and act together in trade unions;
• Social security, including government assistance during old age and in times of unemployment, and money or other help for people at other times when they need assistance in order to live their lives with dignity;
• Assistance and protection for families;
• Equal marriage rights for men and women;
• An adequate standard of living for everyone, involving adequate clothing, housing, and food;
• A high standard of health and health care for all;
• Satisfactory primary education for all and increased opportunities for further education;
• The right to participate in the cultural life of the community; and
• The right to benefit from scientific progress.

ESC rights have gained more attention both at global and local levels.

This situation was reflected in the sphere of the United Nations. The International Bill of Human Rights comprises three texts: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR-1966), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-1966) and its two optional protocols.

The ICESCR is monitored by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Unlike the ICCPR, the ICESCR was among the only major human rights treaties to lack a petition mechanism.

On December 10th, 2008, on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations adopted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) bringing the possibility of international justice one step closer for millions of excluded people, groups, communities and peoples worldwide.

The Optional Protocol is important because it provides victims of economic, social and cultural rights violations who are not able to get an effective remedy in their domestic legal system with an avenue to get redress. For the OP to enter into force, 10 States need to ratify or accede to it. An NGO coalition named the International NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR is campaigning to ensure the ratification and implementation of the OP by September 24, 2009, the day of the UN Signature Ceremony in New York.
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UPDATES
Thursday, April 08 2010
Primer on women's economic, social and cultural rights
(Source: ESCR-net)
Tuesday, March 16 2010
Bringing human rights to bear in times of crisis
(Source: ESCR-Net)

International instruments

Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (UN)

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR- 1966) (UNHCHR)

Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the ICESCR (1986)

World Conference on Human Rights: Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1995) (UNHCHR)

Fact sheet on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

About ESC Rights: resource page (ESCR-net)

Justiciability

Litigating economic social and cultural rights: Achievements, challenges and strategies

Quito Declaration on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, July 1998 (CESR)

ESC rights in selected countries and regions

Zimbabwe: Women at the forefront of challenging government policy face increasing repression (Amnesty International)

From ideals to tools: ESC rights in Latin America (APRODEH)

A civil society experience from the Arab region (Arab NGO Network for Development)

Israel’s report on ICESCR: shadow report (MIFTAH)

The state of ESC rights in Southeast Asia (FES)

ESC rights and MDGs

ESC rights help to realize any strategy to meet the MDGs

Agreed goals relating to the Millennium Declaration (UN)

Poverty

It's not just the economy, it's a human rights crisis (Amnesty International)

Joint submission on extreme poverty and human rights: the rights of the poor (Dignity International)

From noblesse oblige to solidarity: the nature of social justice funding (Pambazuka)

ESCR and public policies (Choike)

Imagine how to turn the Human Rights Day into a celebration (Social Watch)

Human rights and poverty reduction (UNHCHR)

The right to health

The right to health (CETIM)

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

ESC Rights in times of crisis

Bringing human rights to bear in times of crisis (ESCR-Net)

Towards an optional protocol

Campaign for ratification vows for justice now

NGO coalition for an Optional Protocol

Resource page on the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR (ESCR-net)

Draft Optional Protocol to ICESCR (UNHCHR)

Concise background document on the Optional Protocol to ICESCR

An optional protocol to the ICESCR: where are we now? (NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol)

The case for a Protocol to the ICESCR (CETIM)

What kind of protocol is needed? (COHRE)

Pivotal Moment for the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR

US blocks protocol for 'neglected' rights

Statement of the NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR

Key moment for an optional protocol on ESC rights

Optional Protocol on economic, social and cultural rights is adopted (ESCR-net)

On ESC rights in general

Rights is the answer! says new report by major NGO network (Social Watch)

A learning manual on human rights based development (Dignity International)

A citizens' guide to monitoring government expenditures (The International Budget Project)

Economic, social and cultural rights: an online manual (FrontLine)

Civil society experiences in public auditing (International Budget Project)

Economic reform and foreign debt's effects on human rights (UN)

An activist’s manual on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESR)

Countries still giving lower priority to ESC rights (OHCHR)

Dignity counts: a guide to using budget analysis to advance human rights (International Budget Project)

Human rights for human dignity - A primer on ESC rights (Amnesty International)

ESC rights: a guide to the legal framework (CESR)

Resources on ESC rights

Promises to keep: using public budgets as a tool to advance economic, social and cultural rights (International Budget)

Thesaurus of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

ESC Rights online manual (Front Line)

HRW on ESC rights

ESC rights and trade

Trade and human rights: towards coherence (Sur- International Journal on Human Rights)

Human rights and trade agreements: Using general exception clauses to protect human rights (OHCHR)

Understanding global trade and human rights (FIDH)

The WTO, international trade, and human rights (3D three)

Towards development: human rights and the WTO agenda

ESC rights and gender

Primer on women's economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR-net)

Montreal principles on women’s economic social and cultural rights (FIDH)

Achieving women's economic and social rights: strategies and lessons from experience (AWID)

Article 3: the equal right of men and women (Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)

Article 3: the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR-Net mailing list)

Women and adequate housing (U.N.)

Africa: time to walk the talk on women's rights

ESC rights and globalization (CLADEM)

Women facing globalization: the impact of neo-liberal globalization on the economic, social and cultural rights of women (WHRNet)

The right to food

Rising food prices: implications for the right to food (CRIN)

Little progress in reducing global hunger says UN (Third World Network)

The human right to adequate food

The human right to food

Cases

South Africa: landmark water case reaches Constitutional Court (COHRE)

Documenting ESC rights law cases (ESCR-net)

The human right to water (Center for Economic and Social Rights)

50 leading cases on ESC rights (COHRE)


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