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25 - Human Rights Committee

Not Only a Committee on Civil and Political Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Malcolm Langford
Affiliation:
Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

There is no water-tight division between different categories of human rights. In particular, it is important to note that although the project of transforming the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights into treaty form culminated in separate Covenants including, on the one hand, civil and political Rights and, on the other hand, economic, social and cultural Rights, it did not result in complete compartmentalisation of those two categories of human rights. On the contrary, there is both interdependence between different human rights and direct overlap between the two Covenants.

The operation of the Human Rights Committee, the expert body established under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’), has provided ample evidence of such interdependence and overlap. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is not a treaty on economic, social and cultural rights but neither is it a treaty solely on civil and political rights. There is considerable similarity between the two Covenants of 1966, so that for instance ICCPR Articles 1 (self-determination), 18 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including in the domain of education), 22 (freedom of association, including the right to join and form trade unions) and 27 (minority rights, including the right to enjoy one's own culture) even textually refer to economic, social or cultural rights. In addition, the freestanding non-discrimination provision in Article 26 opens up possibilities for claims related to social security benefits and many other economic, social and cultural rights.

Type
Chapter
Information
Social Rights Jurisprudence
Emerging Trends in International and Comparative Law
, pp. 540 - 552
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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References

Scheinin, M., ‘Justiciability and the Indivisibility of Human Rights’, in Squires, J., Langford, M. and Thiele, B. (eds.), The Road to a Remedy: Current Issues in the Litigation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Australian Human Rights Centre, The University of New South Wales with Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction, Distributed by UNSW Press, 2005), pp. 17–26Google Scholar
Nowak, Manfred, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, CCPR Commentary, 2nd edition (Kehl: N.P. Engel, 2005)Google Scholar
Langford, M. and Plessis, J. du, Dignity in the Rubble? Forced Evictions and Human Rights Law, COHRE Working Paper, June 2005Google Scholar
Macklem, P., ‘Rybná 9, Praha 1: Restitution and Memory in International Human Rights Law’, European Journal of International Law, Vol. 16 (2005), pp. 1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scheinin, M., ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights', in Castellino, J. and Walsh, N. (eds.), International Law and Indigenous Peoples (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005), pp. 3–15Google Scholar
Scheinin, M., ‘The Right to Enjoy a Distinct Culture: Indigenous and Competing Uses of Land’, in Orlin, T. S., Rosas, A. and Scheinin, M. (eds.), The Jurisprudence of Human Rights Law: A Comparative Interpretive Approach (Turku: Institute for Human Rights, 2000), pp. 159–222Google Scholar

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