Economic, social and cultural rights

Economic, social and cultural rights are a part of human rights. In an important United Nations treaty called The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the countries in the United Nations agreed that every person in the world should have these rights. Some examples of these rights include:

  • The right to education (school)
  • The right to work, with good pay, in a good, safe place to work
  • The right to strike (when workers strike, they decide together that they will not work any more until their bosses make things at work better - like giving them enough pay to live on, or making the work safer)
  • The right to Social Security
  • The right to be healthy
  • The right to an adequate standard of living (meaning a person has everything they need to survive, including water, food, clothing, enough money to pay for what they need, and somewhere safe to live).

These rights were already listed in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, they were included again in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights to make sure that giving people these rights would be the law all across the world.

A separate Covenant specifically on economic, social, and cultural rights was done for a reason. These rights were not included in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These two Covenants were kept separate because civil rights are thought to be protected strongly than economic, social and cultural rights. A separate Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights was done to make it clear how important these rights are.

As the Vienna Declaration says, all human rights must be protected equally because "all human rights are universal and cannot be divided."

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