Human Rights Council Inc.

New Zealand

Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights.


Freedom from Our Social Prisons: The Rise of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

By Anthony George Ravlich

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Lexington Books

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"In his noteworthy new book, Anthony Ravlich reminds us of the critical need for comprehensive human rights education in order for the poor and disadvantaged to be able to hold state's accountable to fulfill their minimum core obligations under economic and social human rights law. Ravlich accurately points to the devastating impact of structural violence and neoliberal economic policies on the lives of millions who now live in squalor and poverty. He effectively argues that economic globalization proceeded prematurely as it did not include simultaneous economic and social rights protection. Ravlich eloquently calls on states to stop "fudging" on their core minimum obligations and respect the economic rights of the poor. This informed study will be of great use to all concerned with social justice." - William F. Felice, professor of international relations and global affairs, Eckerd College

The purpose of this book is to provide a belief system to empower people using the democratic system and human rights law. This author contends that neo-liberalism has created a large underclass and has impinged upon the right to development for those who do not fit into the "neo-liberal square". Economic, social, and cultural rights, which have been rising in importance within the United Nations and have been denied to many, can be implemented using the core minimum obligations as defined by the General Comments of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This will go a long way toward civilizing neo-liberalism.

Core minimum obligations such as ensuring basic shelter and housing and essential primary health care only amount to "top-down" provisions. This book argues that people are most likely to become aware of their human rights if these rights are taught using a more elementary, "bottom-up" approach. Consequently human rights education should also be regarded as a core minimum obligation especially given that the people of the world have been deliberately kept ignorant of what constitutes basic human rights. Human rights education will enable people to decide through the democratic process whether they want to see economic, social and cultural rights included in domestic human rights law.

About the Author
Anthony George Ravlich is founder and chairperson of the Human Rights Council Inc. in New Zealand.


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