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Closing the Rights Gap

Closing the Rights Gap: From Human Rights to Social Transformation

LaDawn Haglund
Robin Stryker
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Closing the Rights Gap
    Book Description:

    Do "human rights"-as embodied in constitutions, national laws, and international agreements-foster improvements in the lives of the poor or otherwise marginalized populations? When, where, how, and under what conditions?Closing the Rights Gap: From Human Rights to Social Transformationsystematically compares a range of case studies from around the world in order to clarify the conditions under which-and institutions through which-economic, social, and cultural rights are progressively realized in practice. It concludes with testable hypotheses regarding how significant transformative change might occur, as well as an agenda for future research to facilitate rights realization worldwide.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95892-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. List of Contributors
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
    (pp. xxiii-xxx)
    LaDawn Haglund
  8. Introduction: Making Sense of the Multiple and Complex Pathways by which Human Rights Are Realized
    (pp. 1-26)
    LaDawn Haglund and Robin Stryker

    These cases illustrate just two of the multiple fronts on which contentious questions of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) are being disputed. In recent years, the increasing adoption of human rights discourses and their embodiment in international and national law to address seemingly intractable problems of poverty and deprivation have sparked new hopes for social transformation. But uncertainty remains. Can the reframing of economic, social, and cultural marginalization as human rights deficits—and the oft en corresponding adoption of ESCR norms into national and international law—bring about social transformation “on the ground”? And if so, what kind of...


    • Chapter 1 Do Non–Human Rights Regimes Undermine the Achievement of Economic and Social Rights?
      (pp. 29-48)
      M. Rodwan Abouharb, David L. Cingranelli and Mikhail Filippov

      There is little systematic research examining the international factors that make governments more or less willing to make efforts to protect the economic and social rights (ESR) of their citizens (Cardenas 2007; Bauhr and Nasiritousi 2012; Hafner-Burton 2012; Goodman and Jinks 2013; Minkler 2013). In this chapter we demonstrate for the first time that the longer a government’s participation in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (United Nations 1966), the greater its level of respect for ESR. This finding is consistent with the “mechanisms, actors, and pathways” (MAPs) framework of human rights realization outlined in the...

    • Chapter 2 Linking Law and Economics: Translating Economic and Social Human Rights Norms into Public Policy
      (pp. 49-68)
      William F. Felice

      Central to the successful translation of economic and social human rights norms into public policy is the clear articulation of the nexus between law and economics. Scholars have inadequately elaborated the critical links between international political economy and international human rights law. This chapter begins to fill this gap by exploring the ways in which the integration of legal and economic approaches can help states more fully articulate avenues to meet their duties to respect, protect, and fulfill economic and social human rights.

      After clarifying the basic definitions of central concepts, including economic and social human rights, global public goods,...

    • Chapter 3 Advances and Ongoing Challenges in the Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights within the Inter-American System and the United Nations Special Procedures System
      (pp. 69-84)
      Leonardo J. Alvarado

      Development of international legal norms and standards pertaining to indigenous peoples is not a new subject in the academic legal or social science literature (see Anaya 2004). The notion of human rights pertaining to indigenous peoples within their particular historical, contemporary, social, and political circumstances has gained a very high level of recognition not just academically but within the human rights machinery of international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS). From the standpoint of the MAPs framework (described in the introduction to this volume), indigenous peoples, individuals, and organizations have emerged as...


    • Chapter 4 The Impact of Legal Strategies for Claiming Economic and Social Rights
      (pp. 87-104)
      Varun Gauri and Daniel M. Brinks

      There exist several pathways through which economic and social (ES) rights can mitigate world poverty, each entailing different but overlapping constellations of mechanisms and actors. A recent review distinguishes legal from extralegal pathways (Gauri and Gloppen 2012); the latter include efforts to change norms and discourses. For instance, human rights norms, such as those embodied in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, might directly influence developing country officials and politicians when they formulate and implement government policies on topics such as school fees, child labor, taxation, and social assistance. They might also influence governments in rich countries to increase...

    • Chapter 5 The Role of Human Rights Law in Protecting Environmental Rights in South Asia
      (pp. 105-126)
      Sumudu Atapattu

      The convergence between the human rights movement and the environmental movement is an important feature of recent times. This convergence can be seen at national, regional, and to a lesser extent, international levels (Hunter, Salzman, and Zaelke 2011); and, as the introduction points out, this cross-fertilization can be seen in other areas discussed in this volume (the chapters by Alvarado, Klug, and Gauri and Brinks are good examples) and forms one of its principal approaches. Using one legal framework in relation to another field can be seen as an efficient use of the existing legal framework, although, as discussed later,...

    • Chapter 6 The Morality of Law: The Case against Deportation of Settled Immigrants
      (pp. 127-146)
      Doris Marie Provine

      Deportation stories are newsworthy and controversial because, to many people, deportation feels arbitrary and unfair. At an intuitive level, it seems as if being rooted in a place should count for something. That intuitive sense of injustice animates protests, even by strangers, against deportation of settled immigrants, especially youths, who often arrive as infants or young children. Protesters typically push for exceptions to rules that prescribe deportation, for example the DREAM Act,¹ which makes an exception for young people who came to the U.S. as children and are attending or have finished high school and have no criminal record. The...


    • Chapter 7 Social Movements and the Expansion of Economic and Social Human Rights Advocacy among International NGOs
      (pp. 149-170)
      Paul J. Nelson

      Human rights and international development, born in their modern forms in the post–World War II period and separated at birth, have been experiencing a period of reunion and partial reintegration since the mid-1990s as human rights NGOs adopt agendas that include advocating economic, social, and cultural (ESC) rights, and donor organizations and NGOs in development embrace human rights–based approaches. During the same period, local and national social movements have articulated demands in health, land reform, and water policy that are grounded in human rights claims. In this chapter I analyze and offer an explanation for these changes in...

    • Chapter 8 The Challenge of Ensuring Food Security: Global Perspectives and Evidence from India
      (pp. 171-198)
      Shareen Hertel and Susan Randolph

      To date 160 countries have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, United Nations General Assembly, 1966), thereby committing themselves to progressively ensure the full realization of the right to food. Yet, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations estimated the number of hungry people at 842 million—nearly one person in eight—in 2012 (FAO 2014). Holding countries accountable to their commitment to ensure the right to food presents multiple challenges, ranging from the basic question of how best to assess compliance to the complex questions of how to promote and ensure compliance....

    • Chapter 9 Achieving Rights to Land, Water, and Health in Post-Apartheid South Africa
      (pp. 199-218)
      Heinz Klug

      After twenty years of democracy in South Africa the legacies of apartheid, including poverty, unemployment, and limited government capacity, as well as criminal and domestic violence, remain an ever-present reality. In addition, the country is facing new challenges, including a devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic and increasing inequality. While the African National Congress (ANC) government has remained publicly committed to addressing these legacies, continued debate over government priorities and policies has led some activists to stress the constitution’s provision of justiciable socioeconomic rights and the duty of government to promote and fulfill these rights. Increasingly, this has led activists to seek redress...

    • Chapter 10 Social Accountability in the World Bank: How Does It Overlap with Human Rights?
      (pp. 219-236)
      Hans-Otto Sano

      Social accountability and demand-led governance have entered into the vocabulary of international development. While Nordic and German donors, for instance, are not devoting a lot ofsystematicattention to an approach based on social accountability,¹ others, such as the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, are paying stronger attention to social accountability approaches.² However, where this concept has really flourished in an applied form is in the World Bank. As of October 2012, the World Bank database on Social Accountability and Demand for Good Governance includes 762 projects and activities worldwide. Of these 762 projects, 441 were...


    • Chapter 11 Making the Principle of Progressive Realization Operational: The SERF Index, an Index for Monitoring State Fulfillment of Economic and Social Rights Obligations
      (pp. 239-264)
      Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph

      The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) commits governments to progressively fulfill the economic, social, and cultural rights recognized in the covenant and to commit the maximum of available resources to that end (United Nations 1966b, Art. 2.1). Alston and Quinn (1987, 172) call this standard ofprogressive realization,as it has come to be known, the “linchpin of the whole Covenant.” Yet it has complicated and ultimately frustrated the monitoring of countries’ fulfillment of their obligations under the covenant and is in no small part responsible for economic, social, and cultural rights’ relative lack of traction....

    • Chapter 12 Deepening Our Understanding of Rights Realization through Disaggregation and Mapping: Integrating Census Data and Participatory GIS
      (pp. 265-290)
      Rimjhim Aggarwal and LaDawn Haglund

      An important contribution of the human rights–based approach to development is its attention to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. It has been argued that the emphasis of the Millennium Development Goals on averages oft en gives states an incentive to concentrate their efforts on relatively easy-to-reach populations (OHCHR 2009). As an antidote, several international development agencies have begun to use socioeconomic data disaggregated by income, gender, race, ethnicity, and other dimensions of discrimination to better identify and track vulnerable groups. This constitutes a key difference between indicators of human development, on average, and human rights–based approaches (Roaf,...

    • Chapter 13 Studying Courts in Context: The Role of Nonjudicial Institutional and Socio-Political Realities
      (pp. 291-318)
      Siri Gloppen

      Across the globe, human rights have become important tools and courts central arenas for enforcing accountability and contesting policies—from antiterrorism measures and regulation of religion to health care and housing—sometimes seemingly with success. Yet, our knowledge is limited about when legal mobilization is effective in enforcing accountability, and under which circumstances policy legalization contributes toward social transformation. Moreover, this is not only a matter of more data. We need better conceptual and methodological tools to grasp the phenomenon. Th is volume contributes toward filling this gap.

      Th is chapter takes as its focal point court-centered legal mobilization or...

  13. Conclusion: Emerging Possibilities for Social Transformation
    (pp. 319-354)
    Robin Stryker and LaDawn Haglund

    Despite formidable challenges, actors around the world have increasingly mobilized human rights norms, values, and frames to help promote equality-and justice-enhancing social transformation. Chapters in this volume are unified by their common concern to specify how more general types ofmechanismsandactorsidentified as central in iterative processes of rights translation become instantiated within time- and space-specific concretepathwaysof rights realization (see the description of the MAPs framework in the introductory chapter). Involving diverse types of belief and action formation, the pathways described in individual chapters highlight both barriers to and possibilities for profound social transformation. By systematically...

  14. INDEX
    (pp. 355-362)