Social and Economic Rights

Available also in Arabic

Overview

What?

  • Socio-economic rights provide protection for the dignity, freedom and well-being of individuals by guaranteeing state-supported entitlements to education, public health care, housing, a living wage, decent working conditions and other social goods.

Why?

  • Constitutionalizing socio-economic rights reflects the need to protect the most fundamental interests of individuals in having resources that are necessary for the exercise of their well-bring.

Why not?

  • Objections to the constitutionalization of socio-economic rights include: the risk of overloading the state’s capacity to deliver promised goods leading to a lack of legitimacy, the fear of judges becoming too involved in policymaking and ideological objections.

Where?

  • Most recent constitutions, especially in Europe, Africa and Latin America, include some socio-economic rights. North America and the Caribbean are notable for the absence of such provisions.