December 6, 2017, by Charlotte Anscombe

Making Economic and Social Rights Real

People’s rights to basic amenities such as housing, education, health, social security and food are things that most of us take for granted, but for some, the rights are still a distant pipe dream. Here in the UK, this is being made ever-clearer by the current controversy around the roll-out of Universal Credit, the homelessness crisis and the facts surrounding the Grenfell tragedy.

Now, Nottingham legal experts are working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to help educate policymakers on economic and social rights (ESR). The aim being to improve people’s understanding of these important rights – what they protect and what they require of states – with the long term goal being that everybody will have access to things they need for survival and flourishing.

Aoife Nolan, Professor of International Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham has collaborated with the EHRC to develop 12 training videos which are be aimed at international health, education, human rights policymakers, Westminster, joint parliamentary committees, international civil society, and those working locally in related areas such as welfare, local authorities and housing.

These publicly accessible videos and associated training materials will act as a training resource for people working in these areas to fill a vital knowledge gap that currently exists.

Professor Nolan said: “Economic and Social Rights is an area of human rights law that has long been marginalised in the UK. This is despite the centrality of these rights (to housing, an adequate standard of living, food, education, health) to human survival and development.

“Economic and social rights are increasing in importance globally.  A key reason for their growing profile here in the UK here is mounting concern about how people’s access to essential goods and services has been affected by the fiscal austerity measures introduced since 2010.

“This project aims to address these issues, and by using existing research from Nottingham we have developed training videos that can be used by the relevant stakeholders to better understand the issues around economic and social rights and how they can be tackled.”

The videos will launch on 6 December during Human Rights Week (4-10 December 2017), the Human Rights Law Centre website, where additional resources such as transcripts will be available, and on the University’s YouTube channel.

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