Edited by Suzanne Egan and Anna Chadwick
Chapter 9: An emphasis on social rights: a boost for the UKs popular rights discourse?
There is clear resistance to the notion of human rights from some quarters in the UK. The rights framework therefore does not at first appear to be the best avenue for attempts to counter poverty. In this chapter it will be argued, however, that there is evidence that incorporation of social rights is both possible and desirable in the UK. Examples such as legal incorporation of social rights in South Africa and Columbia are outlined, demonstrating that adjudication of such rights by courts need not involve judicial overreach. Yet legal incorporation is unlikely in a climate of hostility to rights, so it is crucial that ordinary people first understand what human rights are, and how they relate to their lives. Case studies in York and New Zealand for example indicate that it is social rights which are of importance to ordinary people at local level. Support for human rights more broadly would likely be increased through a comprehensive consultation process with greater emphasis on social rights such as health and education, water and housing. Social rights will help to make the case for investment in public services and will likely reinforce an understanding of rights as having the potential to uphold communal values. This indicates that UK civil society should advocate strongly for the implementation potential, including the justiciability, of social rights.
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