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Twenty years of economic and social rights advocacy

On 4 February 2013, the CESR and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice hosted a panel event and reception in New York University's Faculty of Law celebrating 20 years of economic and social rights advocacy.


A full video of the NYU event can be viewed here. The discussion begins
after a short introductory clip presenting CESR's work.
The event, which also served as an important opportunity to take stock of the challenges still facing the human rights movement in making these rights a reality, was staged to mark two decades since both the founding of CESR and the 1993 Vienna Declaration. The latter of these was an important milestone for the human rights movement, as it brought down the division between two sets of rights which had characterized the Cold War, and affirmed economic, social and cultural rights as rights on an equal footing with civil and political rights, and indivisibly linked to them.

Leading figures from the human rights movement came together at the meeting to reflect on the progress that has been made in advancing economic and social rights, and the challenges that lie ahead. Their discussion explored such questions as to what extent the normative recognition of economic and social rights has had an impact on economic and social policy at the national and global levels; whether the argument for the ‘justiciability’ of these rights has been convincingly won; why ESC rights are so seldom enforced; and if the tools of human rights have made a tangible difference in the lives of those facing poverty and deprivation.

Speakers at the event included:

Philip Alston (Professor of Law, New York University);
Alicia Ely Yamin (Director of the Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard);
Manuel José Cepeda (Universidad de los Andes and former judge of the Constitutional Court of Colombia);
Irene Khan (Director General, International Development Law Organization);
Chris Jochnick (Director, Private Sector Engagement, Oxfam America);
Carin Norberg (former Director of the Nordic Africa Institute);
Ignacio Saiz, Executive Director of CESR.
For full bios, see here.