Economic, Social & Cultural Rights

In order to balance the over-emphasis on civil and political rights that existed in the 1980s, Rights and Humanity has always placed particular emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights. This neglected branch of rights continues to be a priority for our work.Rights and Humanity has worked closely with the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, contributing our expertise to the Committee’s deliberations on the scope and components of economic, social and cultural rights.


We have played a major role in articulating the right to health and in shaping global policy to ensure respect for human rights in the context of health care policies and services and in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Another major achievement of Rights and Humanity is our contribution to ensuring the inclusion of economic and social rights in the post-apartheid South African Constitution.

Contributing to UNDP’s Human Development Report 2000

Over several years in the late 1990s, Rights and Humanity advocated that UNDP adopt the Human Rights Approach to Development which we had pioneered. We also proposed that the realisation of human rights be included in the criteria used to measure human development.

In 2000, UNDP dedicated the whole of its Human Development Report to the issue of Human Rights and Human Development. Rights and Humanity was hired as a consultant to advise UNDP concerning this ground-breaking UN publication. We took part in a number of expert consultations and were commissioned to write two background papers. These were primarily written by Rights and Humanity researcher Corinne Lennox:

  • “Successful Grassroots Strategies for Implementing Human Rights”
  • “TNCS, Codes of Conduct, Self-imposed Codes and Human Rights”

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