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

The Right to Land and Livelihoods in India

This case focuses on the compulsory acquisition of land by the State of West Bengal for a car manufacturing unit under the auspices of “public purpose”. The Supreme Court of India determined that the acquisition had not been for a public purpose, but for the benefit of a company, and ordered the return of the […]

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 […]


Universal Periodic Review Sexual Rights Database

The Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council is a process to review each of the 193 Member States of the UN on its entire human rights record every four and a half years. This database allows you to access and search all the sexual rights related recommendations and references made during […]

Human Rights in Times of Austerity (Brazil)

One year into Brazil’s 20-year constitutional cap on public spending, the Center for Social and Economic Rights, the Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (INESC) and Oxfam Brazil have presented new empirical findings to the Brazilian Congress that illustrate austerity’s already severe impact on basic social and economic rights in the areas of food security, health and […]

Defending Dignity: A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) and the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) are pleased to present Defending Dignity: A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite significant economic growth in recent decades, poverty levels in the Asia Pacific remain unacceptably high. […]

Rethinking Transitions: economic and social justice in societies emerging from conflict

Transitions bring the opportunity to rewrite the social contract between state and society, to restructure institutional architecture and tackle the political, social and economic deficits that contribute to social exclusion and deprivation. In transitions, economic and social rights have the potential to translate people’s social justice claims into normative and enforceable entitlements through constitutional processes […]

Premier Rapport Mondial sur les Droits Economiques et Sociaux et Culturels

Ce premier rapport 2016 sur la situation des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels de 42 pays est une initiative de L’Observatoire international sur les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels (ObIDESC). Créé par le Collège Universitaire Henry Dunant, en collaboration avec l’OIDEL et la chaire UNESCO de l’Université de La Rioja il a pour objectif de […]

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Commentary

This commentary aims to address the need for scholarly research, reasoned argument, consistent interpretation and creative approaches to advocacy, adjudication and remedies under the new OP-ICESCR to ensure that its promise and purpose are fully realized. It aims to provide commentary that is rigorous from a scholarly perspective but relevant for practice and helpful in […]

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 […]

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