Social, economic and cultural rights are all forms of human rights. These rights focus on the social and economic standards needed in a society to give people a comfortable existence. These rights are protected by international instruments and countries have to try and maximize the implementation of these rights.
ENSURING SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CREATES A BETTER COMMUNITY LIFE
Social, economic and cultural rights are based on equality and they aim to provide just and favorable conditions for people. All human rights stem from values integral to human existence like dignity. Social, economic and cultural rights are based on the fact that human dignity would be compromised if these rights are not fulfilled.
These rights are significant as they require the state to take positive action. Governments are required to take full steps in ensuring that their citizens have adequate conditions to live a meaningful life. When the state gives its citizens these rights, they have the opportunity to fully develop their potential. For example, when a person has education and training they will be more likely to develop ideas and provide innovative solutions to any challenging situation.
THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
Here are some examples of social, economic and cultural rights:
- Right to work
- Right to health
- Right to education
- Right to a family life
- Right to an adequate standard of living
- Right to participate in cultural life
- Right to partake in the benefits of scientific progress
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RIGHTS CAN VARY ACCORDING TO COUNTRY
Countries are different from each other in their income and in infrastructure. These are the basis of granting social, economic and cultural rights. Thus, countries vary in the implementation of these rights. Three major obligations of countries in respect of social, economic and cultural rights are as follows:
- Respect – Governments must refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the economic, social and cultural rights of their citizens
- Protect – Governments must prevent third parties, such as corporations, from interfering in any way with the economic, social and cultural rights of their citizens
- Fulfil – Governments must adopt the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights
THE IMPORTANCE OF ELECTING A GOOD GOVERNMENT
The international law framework requires countries to maximize the rights that are granted on a national level. Consequently, states have to carefully allocate resources to implement rights. Some countries allow social, economic and cultural rights to be implemented in courts. For example, in South Africa the right to adequate housing can be enforced by the courts. Most countries, however, do not make it possible for these rights to be implemented by courts. So the question arises on how these rights are enforced?! These rights are then dependent on actions of the state. The actions of the state are taken by the government and it is very important to elect a government wisely.
A good government can make policies that will help provide better living conditions whereas a bad government won’t care for the welfare of the citizens. This is why periodic elections are held to elect governments and people choose whom they want to hold power. Citizens must elect very carefully and in an informed manner to get the maximum benefits from government policies: A mobilized and active citizenry can contribute to an effective way of implementing rights.