Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human...
CHR&GJ: On Tuesday June 14, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and CHRGJ Faculty Director Philip Alston presented his thematic report on social and economic rights to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The report underlined the paradoxical status of economic and social rights as well as the extent to which economic and social rights are all too often not neglected as human rights. Alston argues in the report that a conception of human rights that implicitly accepts a radical hierarchical distinction between two sets of rights — civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights — is one that is fundamentally incompatible with international human rights law, and that such a conception offers no solution to the increasingly urgent challenges posed by radical and growing inequality and widespread material deprivation in a world of plenty.
Arguing that it is essential for the proponents of economic and social rights to acknowledge the deeply rooted nature of the continuing strong resistance to the very concept of economic and social rights as human rights, the report urges the human rights community to not only adopt more resolutions or hold more meetings, but to also focus on the recognition, institutionalization and accountability (RIA) framework. Proponents of economic and social rights, Alston emphasizes, need to acknowledge and tackle this deeper political reality rather than sailing merrily along as though there is widespread and basic agreement on economic and social rights.