This chapter defines social rights as a subcategory of economic, social and cultural rights in accordance with the history and structure of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In this narrow sense, social rights comprise the rights to social security, protection of the family, motherhood and childhood, and the right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to food, water, housing, clothing and health care. The chapter stresses the equality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights and concludes that the core social rights to social security and an adequate standard of living, which are at the centre of the social welfare state, suffer most under the current neoliberal economic system and demand a fundamental reform of the global economy.
Manfred Nowak and Anne Charbord
Edited by Manfred Nowak and Anne Charbord
Karolina Miriam Januszewski and Manfred Nowak
There is a general awareness of the interdependence of the social, economic and political dimensions of a good life and recognition that people living in poverty feel unheard and silenced. Despite this, there has been a systemic neglect of the civil and political rights of the poor by mainstream human rights actors. This chapter uses a relational approach, which builds strongly on the insights from feminist theory, to analyze poverty and political rights. Looking at poverty through the lens of political rights, allows us to discuss ignored aspects of poverty: human interdependence, the collective dimension of political rights, the egalitarian potential of political rights, and class awareness and the political rights of the poor. This approach has the potential to complexify, enrich and disturb the common understanding of human rights. Engaging with poverty through political rights reminds us of the crucial relationship between poverty, inequality and political participation.
Moritz Birk and Manfred Nowak
International protection from torture and other forms of ill-treatment is provided through charter-based bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures, notably the Special Rapporteur on Torture, special agencies as well as international criminal courts. The prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is moreover contained in many human rights treaties. On UN level its implementation is regularly reviewed by treaty bodies that can also receive individual complaints. Regional human rights courts in Europe, the Americas and Africa interpret the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment broadly and frequently hand down binding judgments and order satisfaction. They are complemented by specialized treaties - such as the UNCAT - to eradicate and prevent torture and ill-treatment and specific preventive bodies such as the UN SPT and CPT. These carry out fact-finding missions and provide advice on strengthening domestic protection, including through the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms.