What are ESCR?

Economic, Social and Cultural rights are legitimate expectations of individuals and groups linked to education, health, housing, work, food, the environment and culture. To gain a dignified and affordable life, proper sanitation, a quality education, proper and adequate food, a clean and healthy environment etc., these rights create basic material conditions for everyone to have a dignified life, develop themselves freely and participate in public matters.

The right to dignified housing not only refers to the right for everyone to have four walls and a roof for shelter but also implies that that housing is a home and part of a secure community where one can live in peace, with dignity and good mental and physical health. The right to adequate housing serves as an exemplary example of the interdependence between different human rights: to guarantee the right to adequate housing is essential to guaranteeing; the right to family, no interference in one’s private life, personal security, and health, which in turn are part o

The right to water means the possibility that everyone can access both physically and financially, to enough clean water to take care of their personal and domestic needs. Access to clean drinking water is as fundamental to the survival of people and towns as preserving cultural practices or ensuring proper hygiene. 

The right to health refers as much to the absence of disease as the right to live in conditions of good physical, mental and social health. So, the right to health should not include the right to be healthy without the possibility of a range of facilities, goods, services and necessary conditions to achieve the highest possible level of heath.

The International Pact of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PISDESC) recognizes the right to health through article 12 as “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has interpreted health as an inclusive right that not only includes a timely and appropriate attention to health, but also other factors such as the access to drinking water, adequate supply of food, adequate housing, healthy work conditions, a healthy environment and access to education on issues related to sexual and reproductive health. Another important aspect noted by the CESCR is the necessity that the population participates in the whole process of making decisions about issues related to their health. 

The standard international principles on the right to health are the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), article 12 and its development in General Comment 14. Similarity, various provisions adopted by the World Health Organization also apply. In the regional field there are the European Social Charter‘s Part I, Article 11, the Protocol of San Salvador articles 11, 15(3) (b) and 17- and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights

Observació general Nº 11

Plans d’acció per a l’ensenyament primari (art. 14)

L’article 14 del Pacte Internacionals de Drets Econòmics, Socials i Culturals exigeix als Estats Parts que encara no hagin pogut implantar l’educació primària obligatòria i gratuïta, que es comprometin a elaborar i a adoptar un pla, dins d’un termini de dos anys, d’un pla detallat d’acció per l’aplicació progressiva, dins d’un termini raonable fixat al pla, de l’inici de l’educació obligatòria i gratuïta per a tots.
El Comitè, si bé és conscient de que hi ha diversos factors que dificulten el compliment pels Estats Parts de la seva obligació d’elaborar un pla d’acció, subratlla però, que aquestes dificultats no poden eximir als Estats Parts de les seves obligacions.

The right to adequate food includes as much as the availability of food in quality and quantity to satisfy individual needs as the fact that these food are culturally acceptable. At the same time, it includes access to foods in ways that are sustainable and do not inflict on other human rights. 

The right to work refers to participating freely in the activities of production and service to society and to enjoy the benefits obtained from these activities. These benefits guarantee an adequate level of life. The right to work is the first of rights recognized specifically in the Pact for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which, in article 6, establishes that the right to work as “the right that every person has the opportunity to make a living by work freely chosen”. 

The right to the environment includes the right to secure surroundings that foster personal development and has, in return, the obligation to conserve the environment and ration the use of natural resources.