Reference : In International Law We (Do Not) Trust: The Persistent Rejection of Economic and Soci...
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In International Law We (Do Not) Trust: The Persistent Rejection of Economic and Social Rights as a Manifestation of Cynicism
Lichuma, Caroline Omari mailto [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen > Institute of International and European Law]
Cynical International Law? Abuse and Circumvention in Public International and European Law
Baade, Björnstjern
Burchardt, Dana
Feihle, Prisca
Köppen, Alicia
Mührel, Linus
Riemer, Lena
Schäfer, Raphael
[en] Cynicism ; International Law ; Economic and Social Rights (ESRs) ; ICESCR
[en] Despite a promising start in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, economic and social rights still retain a second-class status in most national jurisdictions. What explains this reticence with which economic and social rights are (still) regarded? This chapter analyses how the sceptical gaze through which states view economic and social rights legitimises (or attempts to legitimise) government failures to provide for those members of their populace who are in most desperate need, and (unsuccessfully) masks the self-interest that pervades most of international law. The chapter commences with a brief introduction and subsequently proceeds in three subsequent parts. Section 2 demonstrates that cynicism was used as a sword to pierce the normative foundations of economic and social rights generally, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights particularly in the early days both before and after its adoption leading to economic and social rights’ lower status in the human rights family; Section 3 posits that cynicism has been relied upon as a shield to offer errant states a defence for not meeting their obligations under both international and national (constitutional) economic and social rights norms; and finally Section 4 argues that a certain amount of cynicism is inherent in the history of economic and social rights and how they advanced through the ages, but more optimistically that a light at the end of the tunnel exists because contemporary developments point to less rather than more cynicism in the area of economic and social rights in today’s world.

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