The IUP Journal of Law Review
Socioeconomic Rights: From Aspirations to Justiciable Rights

Article Details
Pub. Date : Oct 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Law Review
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJLR51021
Author Name : Mallika Ramachandran
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 18



Ensuring economic, social, and cultural rights is significant for a life with dignity as not only are they concerned with basic needs (among others), but also important in the effective realization of civil and political rights. In fact, as has often been reiterated, all human rights are interdependent, interrelated, and indivisible. The importance of socioeconomic rights has always been recognized, though in historical times, these were treated in terms of welfare by the state or charity by individuals. These rights were also recognized as part of the modern human rights regime established as a response to the atrocities of World War II, but were marginalized and inadequately protected thereafter. However, a number of steps taken, particularly from the mid-1980s onwards, have brought the focus again on to these rights and played a role towards bringing them in line with the protection given to civil and political rights. This paper seeks to explore the history and development of socioeconomic rights. It considers their status prior to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the position under the UDHR and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the contributions of the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. The paper touches on the status and protection of these rights in international, regional and national regimes.


Social and economic rights, illustrations of which include the right to food, shelter, work, education, health, etc. among others, can be said to be rights associated with the basic necessities for a life with dignity.1 In fact, some of these are necessary for the very survival of human beings. While human rights have been commonly classified as "civil and political" or "economic, social, and cultural" or in accordance with Vasak's (1977) categorization of "generations" of rights,2 it becomes important when considering these rights to look into their impact on one another and on the quality of human life as