Internation Convent on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

What is the International Convenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (“ICESCR”)?

The ICESCR is a third generation human rights document which deals with Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which are socio-economic human rights, such as the right to education, right to housing, right to an adequate standard of living, right to health and the right to science and culture. Economic, social and cultural rights are recognised and protected in international and regional human rights instruments, the most important of which is the ICESCR. Member states have a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfil economic, social and cultural rights and are expected to take “progressive action” towards their fulfilment under the terms of the agreement.

In addition to these rights, there is now a movement to create a set of environmental rights to the “bare necessities of life” – including clean water, food, basic health care and indigenous/cultural rights although it appears that concern for a liveable environment is not specifically mentioned in the founding document of international human rights law.

You can download a copy of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights here: