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Rights monitoring: reporting back from New Horizons

March 26th, 2013

CESR has produced a new report that brings together the insights and experience of over 40 leading human rights defenders from all corners of the globe in monitoring ESC rights. ‘New Horizons in Economic and Social Rights Monitoring’ draws together the knowledge and expertise shared at a seminar of the same name, which was organised by CESR and Metrics for Human Rights in Development in Madrid last year.

Seminar participants shared a broad spectrum of experiences that have shown how effective monitoring can be used to enhance the enforcement of economic and social rights, advocate for policy change, and, most importantly, improve people’s daily lives. The report offers a unique examination of developments in the field of ESCR monitoring, exploring how different actors have come to engage more directly with positive ESCR obligations; hones in on new tools and techniques that have been developed in recent years, including quantitative methods and analytical frameworks; and considers how these tools and techniques might be deployed more strategically moving forward.

At the heart of this coming-together was a determination to break down the disciplinary silos that have so often hampered human rights advocates in learning from one another. The report, which is structured around the meeting itself, summarizes the presentations made and offers commentary and analysis on the key issues which emerged from discussions.

The seminar echoed clear demands for establishing a channel of information exchange so as to foment ongoing dialogue on the issues at hand and facilitate future joint efforts. In response, CESR and several of its partners at ESCR-Net have moved forward with plans to set up a new working group on ESCR monitoring. Now up and running, the working group on monitoring, which is being co-convened by CESR and the ESCR-Net Secretariat, provides a forum in which practitioners can share experiences and benefit from mutual learning. It aims to support more effective monitoring of socio-economic and fiscal policies, to ensure they are accountable, responsive and oriented towards human rights principles and obligations. Activities for the group in its first year will focus on creating a virtual space where members can share tools and lessons learned on monitoring ESCR. If you are interested in joining the working group, you can sign up to the group’s listserv by emailing escr-monitoring-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Our monitoring work also sees us collaborating closely with national human rights institutions, through a partnership with the Asia Pacific Forum of National Institutions. The Center has been supporting the New Zealand Human Rights Commission to carry out its assessment of how the right to adequate housing has been protected in the wake of the February 2011 earthquake that hit Christchurch. And we have also joined forces with SUHAKAM, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, who have recently commenced a study on the right to inclusive education for children with learning disabilities. This spring, CESR will mentor SUHAKAM staff as they carry out their study, offering guidance on the systemic collection, analysis and presentation of data to support their findings.