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Economic and Social Rights

    Economic and Social Rights

    Members of NGO Amnesty International carry a hot air balloon with text which reads 'Housing is a Human right' through the Kibera slum in Nairobi on March 24, 2012. The photocall was held to coincide with end of the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Development (AMCHUD) which took place in Nairobi from March 20-23. Thousands of slum dwellers from Africa attended the meeting to lobby housing ministers and heads during the conference. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

    "Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life." Nelson Mandela

    Social and economic rights are concerned with basic human needs—for food, shelter, water and for the means to provide those things for oneself. We recognize that a person who is starving, who is homeless, who does not have the means to provide for their own basic needs, cannot realize any other human right. We demand dignity for all.

    Amnesty is working to ensure that everyone has access to safe and adequate housing, regardless of who they are or where they live. Our members have mobilized globally to stop governments from evicting people from their housing, without notice and without providing any alternative shelter. Amnesty is also calling on governments everywhere to recognize water as a fundamental human right.

    Social and economic rights are recognized in many international human rights documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Social and economic rights include:

    • the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing
    • the right to work
    • the right of everyone to form trade unions and join a trade union
    • the right to social protection
    • the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health
    • the right to education.

    Amnesty recognizes the men and women face different barriers to realizing their social and economic rights. We are acting globally to ensure that women and girls everywhere have full access to their sexual and reproductive rights. This includes access to information about sex, health, family planning, safe and legal abortion services, and access to good quality health care during pregnancy and childbirth.

    Photo: Members of Amnesty International carry a hot air balloon with text which reads 'Housing is a Human right' through the Kibera slum in Nairobi on March 24, 2012. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

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