Economic Social Cultural Rights

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FIDH and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium: Chronicle of a Conviction Foretold

On 3 February 2021 the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) publicized its decision in International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium. The decision followed a collective complaint by two organisations alleging a violation of Belgium’s obligations under the European Social Charter and is the latest in a series of ECSR-decisions on state obligations concerning the right to education of children with intellectual disabilities. As in its most recent decision pre-dating this decision, MDAC v. Belgium, the Committee found Belgium to be in violation both of its obligation not to discriminate against children with intellectual disabilities and of its obligation to ensure accessible inclusive education. A decision that should not have surprised anyone as it builds heavily on prior case law, according to Marie Spinoy and Kurt Willems, and that further confirms the benchmark status of the UN CRPD (framework) in this area. The decision also highlights once again the inherent yet complicated link between equality and inclusive education. Where the prior case of MDAC…

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Some Vaccination Questions, Ethical and Legal

It’s difficult to think of a more pressing problem today than how scarce coronavirus vaccines should be distributed between and within states. Newspapers are full of discussions of ‘vaccine nationalism,’ of the EU-UK-Astra Zeneca row, or of the limited availability of vaccines in the developing world. For us as international lawyers, obviously, the further issue – one to…

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Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution and Access: Enforcing International Legal Obligations under Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the Right to Development

Editor's Note: This post was prepared in advance of my remarks for the 12 February 2021 Global Webinar of the Notre Dame Eck Institute of Global Health ("Are we all in this together? Assessing and addressing equitable access and distributive justice in global supply chains during major disease outbreaks").  By this time, US pharmaceutical companies…

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International Law and the Right to Food: What We Can Learn from Racial Justice Movements

Until very recently, international law usually dealt with questions of race and racism through two primary mechanisms: denial and containment. On the one hand, the outlawing and criminalisation of the most egregious forms of racial discrimination contributed to the narrative that international law was the polar opposite and even the primary antagonist of racism, which was…

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SDG Report 2020: The Civil, Political, Economic, Social, Cultural, and Development Rights Crises Deepening in the Global South

The United Nations recently released its Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, and the results are expectedly grim during this global pandemic.  Not only has the world fallen well off track from Agenda 2030 objectives - including the eradication of poverty - but the deepening inequalities within the Global South augur even worse outcomes for the most vulnerable populations on…

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