Past Program

Aug 06 - Aug 13, 2003

Social and Economic Dimensions of Human Rights


Just over 50 years ago, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights sought to guarantee economic and social well-being, as well as civil and political freedom. While the commitment to freedom has largely been enshrined in domestic and international law, the commitment to economic and social issues has fared less well. Although a number of international treaties and agreements have recognized these rights -- most notably the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the European Social Charter-- mechanisms for implementing social, economic and cultural human rights have been less effective.

In recent years, a number of organizations and rights-advocates have begun to stress the social, economic and cultural dimensions of human rights, insisting that a truly free, democratic society is not possible when citizens lack the basic resources to exercise their freedoms. Many domestic courts, notably but not exclusively in South Africa, India and Europe, have begun to enforce these rights with judgments and orders. International institutions have begun to implement the social and economic conventions by the use of reporting and related techniques.

These developments have not been without controversy. Should social and economic questions be addressed within the framework of domestic and international human rights law? What is the appropriate role of the courts in such matters?

This session, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Salzburg Seminar sessions on Law and Legal Institutions, will continue the Salzburg Seminar's investigation of human rights issues by considering judicial enforcement and other mechanisms affecting social and economic conditions, and the relation of such implementation to fundamental concepts of human dignity and democracy.

This session may be taken for continuing legal education (CLE) credit for an additional fee.

Offered in association with the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS), professional development credit may be earned for the Law Society of England and Wales and the General Bar Council of the United Kingdom, for the Netherlands Bar, and for several states of the United States, including tincluding Colorado, New York, Texas. and West Virginia.