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
Philip Alston
CHRGJ Director and Chair
John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law
Margaret L. Satterthwaite
CHRGJ Director
Director, Global Justice Clinic
Professor of Clinical Law
Nikki Reisch
CHRGJ Legal Director
Supervising Attorney, Global Justice Clinic
Ellie Happel
Adjunct Professor, Global Justice Clinic
Haiti Project Director
Anna Bulman
Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

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

Related Documents
January 8, 2020
What the “Digital Welfare State” Really Means for Human Rights
View Document
December 18, 2019
Why the Digitization of Welfare States is a Pressing Human Rights Issue
View Document
Reports and Briefing Papers
October 16, 2019
UN Special Rapporteur Report on the Digitization of Welfare States
View Document
Related Events
October 17, 2019
Human Rights in the Digital Age: Can they Make a Difference?
View Event
April 12, 2019
Securing Fundamental Human Rights & Challenging Criminalization of Poverty
View Event
April 12, 2019
Social Protection by Artificial Intelligence: Decoding Human Rights in a Digital Age
View Event

Related Pages

Initiative on Inequality, the Global Economy, and Human Rights
Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Project
Tax and Human Rights
Human Rights in Haiti’s Emerging Mining Sector

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