The Intersection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Civil and Political Rights

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review



Publication details

Title of host publicationEconomic, Social, and Cultural Rights in International Law. Contemporary Issues and Challenges
DatePublished - 2014
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of PublicationOxford
EditorsEibe Riedel, Gilles Giacca, Christophe Golay
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9780199685974


Drawing on the concept of intersectionality rooted in gender studies, the chapter examines the various interactions of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights, on one hand, and civil and political (CP) rights, on the other. It explores instances at the normative-theoretical level, in litigation and monitoring practice, where protection of one ‘category’ of rights is sought by appeal to the other. The chapter traces the advent of the paradigm of the ‘categories/generations of rights’ to the Cold War period and the role of the interdependence principle, arguably an intersectional device, in managing the formal separation of human rights into two distinct Covenants. While acknowledging the progress of the past two decades in re-positioning ESC rights on the same value plane as CP rights, the analysis argues for the continued utility of intersectionality as a tool for advancing not only ESC rights, but also CP rights. At the same time, the examination reveals situations in which the rights regime is weakened because of an over-reliance on intersectional litigation strategies, given the impossibility or unwillingness to directly adjudicate ESC rights.

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