Economic and Social Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the rights to food, work, health, housing, and education alongside the rights to life, liberty, freedom of expression, and equal protection of the law. The Declaration treats all as fundamental, inalienable, indivisible, and interdependent. The two international treaties developed to implement the Declaration, however, separated these guaranteed rights into distinct categories: “civil and political” and “economic, social and cultural.” This division has persisted, and in the decades since the Covenants’ adoption, economic, social and cultural rights have been neglected. Despite considerable progress in recent years defining the normative content of economic, social and cultural rights, and strengthening their implementation, these rights continue to receive far less attention from the human rights community and the public than civil and political rights.

CHRGJ aims to help rectify this imbalance by

Through its research, conferences, advocacy, legal education, and public programs, the Center encourages human rights scholars and practitioners to address the challenges of not only defining normative principles, but also realizing these rights in a world of scarce resources and wide power imbalances.

Our Experts
Bassam Khawaja
Co-Director, Human Rights and Privatization Project
Ellie Happel
Adjunct Professor, Global Justice Clinic
Co-Director, Haiti Project
Co-Director, Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative
Margaret L. Satterthwaite
CHRGJ Faculty Director
Director, Global Justice Clinic
Professor of Clinical Law
Philip Alston
CHRGJ Faculty Director
John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law
Rebecca Riddell
Co-Director, Human Rights and Privatization Project

For a complete record of CHRGJ’s work on economic and social rights, visit our searchable Document Center and News and Events archives.

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Related Pages

Initiative on Inequality, the Global Economy, and Human Rights
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Tax and Human Rights
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Degree

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