Minimum Core Obligations

Governments, no matter what level of resources are at their disposal, are obligated to make sure that people living under their jurisdiction enjoy at least essential levels of protection of each of their economic, social, and cultural rights. While the ICESCR recognizes the principle of progressive realization of ESCR, this does not mean that states are free to postpone undertaking their duties vis-à-vis ESCR until a later date. Protection from starvation, primary education, emergency healthcare, and basic housing are among the minimum requirements to live a dignified life and it is the duty of governments to ensure these at all times. Even in cases of economic downturn or other emergency, these core requirements must be guaranteed to everyone. States should use all the available resources, including international assistance, to make sure that every individual in their territory enjoys a bare minimum of ESCR.



Further Reading

Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

CESCR General Comment 3 The Nature of States parties obligations

Chapman, Audrey and Russell, Sage. Core Obligations: Developing a Framework for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, edited by and published by Intersentia.Antwerp,Belgium July 2002