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Economic, social and cultural rights: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Economic, social and cultural rights are socio-economic human rights, as distinct from civil and political rights. Economic, social and cultural rights are included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and elaborated upon in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Examples of such rights include the right to food, the right to housing and the right to health.

The theory of three generations of human rights considers this group of rights to be second-generation rights, and the theory of negative and positive rights considers them to be positive rights.



Some states are unwilling to enshrine purported economic, social and cultural rights as legal rights, seeing them only as needs that society or government might provide if resources are available, but which are not justiciable unless they are established by some contract.

Conversely, social, economic and cultural rights are fully justiciable as defined by many constitutions and human rights mechanisms around the world. For example, the 1996 South African Constitution has included social, economic and cultural rights, and the South African Constitutional Court has subsequently heard claims under these obligations (see Grootboom and Treatment Action Campaign cases). Other jurisdictions, such as India, which does not explicitly recognize economic and social rights in their constitution, has nonetheless found that these rights exist, though unenumerated, inferable from the right to life. Finally, the Optional Protocol to the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, newly adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2008, now offers a legal mechanism to claim legal redress for violations of economic, social and cultural rights inflicted by a state which has ratified the ICESCR.

List of economic, social and cultural Rights

  • Right to work
  • Right to choice of employment
  • Right to own property
  • Right to adequate standards of living
  • Right to access to education
  • Right to found a family
  • Right to respect and protection of the family
  • Right to social security
  • Right to social and medical assistance
  • Right to adequate nutrition
  • Right to social welfare benefits
  • Right to enjoyment of scientific advancement
  • Right to protection of health
  • Right to protection of morals

By region



Among regional human rights instruments the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights is considered to place the most emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights. The South African Bill of Rights, contained in its post-Apartheid constitution, is also notable for its emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights.



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