CESR publishes manual regarding effective monitoring of ESCR

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

ESCR-Net member the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), together with the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions presented, Defending Dignity: A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Defending Dignity looks at the opportunities and challenges for monitoring human rights in a development context and sets out governments’ responsibilities to create conditions in which people can enjoy their economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights. 

The document is divided into four parts, each of which is accompanied by a motion graphic, in which a fictitious human rights officer called Ahn puts the manual to work in her hypothetical country, and explanatory videos in which leading human rights experts from both the Asia-Pacific and beyond discuss different facets of the ESC rights monitoring process.

Through these four steps, Defending Dignity addresses the particular methodological challenges of monitoring and enforcing ESC rights, and seeks to strengthen the unique role of NHRIs in ensuring accountability when these rights are violated.

Poverty levels in Asia Pacific remain highly unacceptable with some 1.8 billion of the population facing daily human rights violations, including lack of food, the risk of disease, and precarious living conditions. While governments have been committed to progressively realizing economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), these commitments have yet to be carried out for the 1.8 billion people living in poverty. 

In emerging countries such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as in transitional countries such as the Maldives, Nepal and Palestine, national human rights institutions have vocalized their support for the adoption of a human rights-based approach to development. To ensure that human rights approaches are fully actualized, governments must be held accountable regarding when their development plans or socio-economic policy do not fail to address preventable human rights deprivations, such as hunger, illiteracy, unsafe drinking water, lack of basic health services, social discrimination, physical insecurity, and political exclusion. 

Furthermore, a human rights based approach necessitates a need for effective monitoring for ensuring accountability. Effective monitoring reveals when laws and policies engender, continue or worsen deprivations of ESCR. This kind of policy monitoring requires investigation into areas that were, until recently, considered to be beyond the reach of human rights law. 

For more information on the manual, click here.

To read this manual, click here.

For more information on the ESCR-Net Monitoring Working Group, click here.