Economic, social and cultural rights (general)

Ethiopia boys volleyball

Social protection floors have great potential to facilitate the enjoyment of several economic and social rights, including the rights to social security, health, food, housing, education and water, in accordance with States’ obligations under international human rights law.  When used as they are intended —as minimum levels rather than an optimum levels of protection — social protection floors can contribute significantly to gender equality and the realization of basic, essential levels of the rights, including the rights to social security, food, health and education, especially for marginalized groups.
Human rights norms and social protection floors complement one another. National social protection floors’ success in achieving gender equality, minimum levels of economic, social and cultural rights and protecting vulnerable groups , such as children, older persons, persons with disabilities, informal workers and non-nationals, will depend on whether they are established and implemented according to human rights standards and principles.

Photo credit: “Pupils participate in a physical education class at Tutis Primary School in Oromia State of Ethiopia” by UNICEF Ethiopia (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).


Legal Cases

Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in Tanzania

Nature of the Case In views adopted under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women held the United Republic of Tanzania accountable for multiple violations of women’s rights, particularly as relates to their inheritance and property rights. Summary […]


The Impact of Cash Transfers on Women and Girls

This briefing summarizes the findings on the impacts of cash transfers on women and girls. These are drawn from a rigorous review of the evidence looking at the impacts of cash transfers across six outcome areas. The review covered literature spanning 15 years (2000–2015). It is distinct from other cash transfer reviews in terms of […]

Gender And Labour In St Lucia: Evidence from household surveys research report

UN Women’s work in this area focuses on measures that enhance and secure the financial independence of women; promote their equal participation; and, provide socio-economic protections that would contribute to reduction in poverty and inequality, would enhance the quality of life of women and their families. This paper draws together findings from an analysis of […]

The Economic, Cultural and Social Dimensions of Social Protection

How do economic, cultural and social rights fit in with social protection? How can duty bearers make sure that these rights are guaranteed for all, especially those excluded from the labour market? In this video, Christian Courtis from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) discusses the state’s responsibility in guaranteeing these […]

Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

These Principles are the first global policy guidelines focused specifically on the human rights of people living in poverty. They are intended for use by governments to ensure that public policies, including poverty eradication efforts, reach the poorest members of society, respect and uphold their rights, and take into account the significant social, cultural, economic and […]

Social protection and an enabling environment for the right to adequate food

This Thematic Study takes a retrospective glance at social protection related developments over a span of a decade from 2004 to 2014. It starts off mentioning the historical shift in development policymaking in the early 2000s from a narrow focus on risks to a wider focus on rights. This shift created the context within which […]

Social protection for food security

Summary: Food insecurity refers to both the inability to secure an adequate diet today and the risk of being unable to do so in the future. Social protection is a menu of policy instruments that addresses poverty and vulnerability, through social assistance, social insurance and efforts at social inclusion. Social protection has risen rapidly up […]