Economic, social and cultural rights
Economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) were recognised as compliant with the principles of the United Nations in the 1966 International Covenant (ICESCR), which entered into force, like the ICCPR, in 1976. Examples of ESCR are the right to work; to free choice of employment, the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and of one’s family, the right to physical and mental health, the right to decent housing, the right to education and the right to free trade unions.
The specific feature of certain economic, social and cultural rights, compared with civil and political rights, is that under Article 2-1 of the ICESCR, they require States to implement them “to the maximum of [their] available resources”.
Over the years, economic, social and cultural rights have been extended and specified by jurisprudence and the general comments of the ESCR Committee. For example in General Comment n° 15, the Committee considered the right to water as one of the rights protected by the Covenant: “the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity”. France is one of the States that have officially recognised the right to access to water and implement it in their national legislation.
Update : July 2010
- Guide to the United Nations
- Download the guide to the United Nations
- Current United Nations peacekeeping operations
- Main United Nations sites
- The United Nations in films