Leave No Right Behind

From time immemorial, Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights have not been accorded the same level of commitment as Civil and Political Rights. This has been due, in part, to the assumption that socio-economic rights are, by nature, different from civil and political rights, warranting differential treatment. Reasons adduced by those who place civil and political rights above socio-economic rights include, but not limited to, resource dependency, non-justiciability, and interpretation of the obligation on States to “progressively” (or “slowly”) realize these rights. Resultantly, socio-economic rights are, oftentimes, relegated or “left behind” by duty bearers who owe the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil these rights. This is despite the long-established notion of the interconnectedness and indivisibility of these two domains of rights. This article analyzes the “leaving behind” of socio-economic rights, and proposed five approaches to ensuring these rights are accorded their due commitment.

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