Inequality, Human Rights, and Progressive Realization: Translating State Resources into Social and Economic Rights

February 18, 2015, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Vanderbilt Hall 204
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Valid ID and RSVP are required for admission. Please RSVP here or email Audrey.watne@nyu.edu. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights, a new book by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer, and Susan Randolph, proposes an innovative framework for measuring government performance in meeting economic and social rights obligations against what could be achieved with available state resources.  The authors argue that traditional human rights indicators capture individuals’ enjoyment of economic or social rights, but not state compliance with the duties to progressively respect, protect, and fulfill those rights.  Their new approach uses data from countries across the globe to set relative benchmarks against which to evaluate more comprehensively how states apply their resources to realize economic and social rights.  Their findings reveal striking differences in governments’ success in mobilizing public resources to deliver socioeconomic benefits. Their findings also raise questions about persistent obstacles to global fulfilment of economic and social rights despite unprecedented wealth production and technological breakthroughs over the last century.  Fukuda-Parr will present the new rights index and discuss the book’s main conclusions.

CHRGJ Scholar in Residence Tine Destrooper will place this analytical project in dialogue with human rights practice.  Drawing on her own research into the rights-based approach and community conceptions of economic and social rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Destrooper will discuss how this new quantitative tool for assessing government performance could complement qualitative human rights research and efforts to achieve progressive realization of rights, and suggest areas for further exploration.

About the Speakers:

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Professor of International Affairs at The New School. She is a development economist interested in human development and capabilities and the broad question of national and international policy strategies. Her current research includes projects on public policies and economic and social rights, and the impact of global goal setting on international development agendas. From 1995 to 2004, she was lead author and director of the UNDP Human Development Reports. Recent publications include: Capabilities and Rights: an interdisciplinary conversation (with P. Vizard and D. Elson).

Tine Destrooper is a Scholar in Residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.  Her research focuses on the local relevance of human rights, with an emphasis on the right to water, as well as the gender dimensions of these issues. She is also currently working on several papers regarding the local relevance of transitional justice processes. Tine Destrooper obtained her Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence, where she specialized in the relationship between armed conflict, social movements and gender. Before she studied at University College London and the University of Brussels, where she completed a Master in Politics, Security and Integration and a Bachelor in European Politics.

Moderator: Nikki Reisch is the Legal Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.  Her work focuses on social and economic rights, with an emphasis on corporate accountability, economic inequality and environmental justice.