About Us

The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) works to promote social justice through human rights. In a world where poverty and inequality deprive entire communities of dignity, justice and sometimes life, we seek to uphold the universal human rights of every human being to education, health, food, water, housing, work, and other economic, social and cultural rights essential to human dignity.

Extreme poverty and rising inequality should not simply be considered an inevitable tragedy. Rather, they are often the result of conscious policy choices by governments and other powerful actors (such as corporations or international financial institutions) that undermine people's access to the full range of human rights. CESR therefore seeks to hold governments and other actors accountable to their obligations to respect, protect and fulfill economic and social rights.

CESR is working to:

  • Promote the mainstreaming of economic, social and cultural rights in all economic and social policymaking, highlighting impacts of key global policy decisions;
  • Develop new methodologies for measuring and monitoring economic and social rights compliance, contributing to more effective accountability for economic, social and cultural rights;
  • Empower and build capacities of organizations within and beyond the human rights movement to advocate more effectively for the fulfillment of these rights;
  • Advocate for greater accountability for economic, social and cultural rights within states and internationally, including at the United Nations and regional human rights forums.
CESR works in partnership with national and international organizations in different countries across a range of disciplines.

"The idea of economic and social rights as human rights expresses the moral intuition that, in a world rich in resources and the accumulation of human knowledge, everyone ought to be guaranteed the basic means for sustaining life, and that those denied these are victims of a fundamental injustice."
--David Beetham, Democracy and Human Rights, 2000