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A4ID Law and Development Training Programme 2019: Module 5

Sat 13 April, 2019

Socio-Economic Rights

Socio-Economic Rights – International Law and Mechanisms

Dr Koldo Casla, Just Fair 

International human rights law provides a useful and innovative discourse and tools for civil society groups working on issues as diverse as welfare, child rights, non-discrimination, mental health or workers’ rights.

Access to housing, education, health, social security and food are globally recognised as human rights. The UK has ratified a number of international treaties that say so, the most important of which is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This session will cover the origins and content of socio-economic rights, with special attention to international law and monitoring mechanisms. The session will also give the opportunity to unpack and hopefully dismantle some of the extended myths about these rights.

Right to Water: Legal Forms; Political-Economy Challenges

Peter Newborne, Overseas Development Institute

Water is a legally recognised human right. Yet, more than 750 million people still lack access to a basic drinking water service, while competition for water for use in agriculture and other productive activities is increasing in many locations as a result of population growth and climate change.

This session will review the three principal legal ways of formulating rights to access to water, and then consider the practicalities of bringing water infrastructure and access to marginalised communities in a low income country, based on a recent ODI-led research and policy project.

Equality Law as a Tool for Realising Socio-Economic Rights

Joanna Whiteman, Equal Rights Trust

When considering enjoyment of socio-economic rights, inequality is often a central consideration. It is rare that socio-economic rights such as education, social security or health for example are equally unattainable for everyone in a given jurisdiction. Usually, when we are talking about violations of socio-economic rights, we are talking about instances of discrimination or state failures to address inequality. Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goals rightly identify tackling inequality as central to ensuring that we “leave no one behind” in development (See SDG 10).

Despite this, the recognition that  equality and non-discrimination law provides an important avenue for achieving socio-economic rights from education to work, is under-developed. This session will introduce participants to the Trust’s litigation work in this area as well as recent developments in its thinking and, through the case study of inequality in education, will see them considering practical applications of the strategy. Participants will be invited to challenge the oft-held assertion by some that socio-economic rights are often aspirational and unenforceable.

For more information on how to book your place on this course please click here. The deadline for ‘early bird’ discounts and scholarships is 30th November 2018.


Sat 13 April, 2019


Advocates for International Development