Economic and Social Rights Programme
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About the Programme_

Economic and social rights (ESR) are poorly understood and rarely enforced in many states. This despite the fact that a large number of states are party to international treaties, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

As a result, these rights need to be consolidated and given full effect through a variety of advocacy strategies including litigation. INTERIGHTS has identified the right to health and the right to education as key areas where the organisation can successfully pursue strategic litigation to better protect ESR at both the regional and international level. Over the past year, INTERIGHTS has worked on cases involving such diverse issues as the linguistic rights in education, school segregation, sexual and reproductive health education and conditions in mental health care facilities.

Announcements_

Roma Housing Greek Government condemned again for continuing to fail Roma on housing
For the second time in five years, the European Committee of Social Rights has condemned Greece for continued serious and widespread discrimination against Roma in respect of housing rights.
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INTERIGHTS Logo Court reaffirms importance of neutrality in classroom but rules that crucifixes can stay
On 18 March 2011, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment in Lautsi v Italy. INTERIGHTS, together with the International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights Watch, intervened in the case.
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Litigation_

European Court: Roma Children Denied Right to Education
The European Court of Human Rights ruling that the Czech government engaged in indirect discrimination against Roma children is a major step forward in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and INTERIGHTS said today.
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South Africa's investment treaties must meet its human rights obligations
INTERIGHTS was part of a coalition requesting to intervene in Piero Foresti, Laura de Carli and others v Republic of South Africa arguing that South Africa’s bilateral investment treaties should not be read in a way that conflicts with its human rights obligations under its own constitution or under international treaties that it has signed up to.
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Croatia censured for segregating Roma children in the classroom
On 16 March 2010 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Croatian authorities discriminated against 15 Roma school children on account of their ethnicity. Interights submitted a third party intervention in the case. The children concerned had been placed in separate classes on account of their lack of Croatian language proficiency.
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Croatia is condemned by European Social Rights Body for Homophobic School Text Books
On 11 August 2009, the European Committee of Social Rights, which monitors state compliance with the European Social Charter, released its decision which found that Croatia’s limited curriculum covering sex education discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.
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Capacity Building and Standard Setting_

Right to Education: Meetings in Tanzania in January 2011 and Cape Town in March 2010
INTERIGHTS and HakiElimu jointly hosted a four-day litigation surgery in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 25 to 28 January 2011. Between 23 and 25 March 2010, we held a three-day consultative meeting in Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.
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New Right to Health Resource
Iain Byrne, Senior Lawyer for the Economic and Social Rights programme, has written a chapter for a new publication, Realizing The Right To Health, the third volume of the Swiss Human Rights Book edited by Andrew Clapham and Mary Robinson and published in June 2009. For further information on the publication click on the link below.
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Complaints system for economic, social and cultural rights is a step nearer
April 2008 saw the culmination of years of work by economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) activists to secure a complaints mechanism for the International Covenant on ESCR when the Working Group set up by the previous UN Human Rights Commission agreed a draft Optional Protocol (OP) for submission to the Human Rights Council and ultimate approval by the General Assembly.
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Pacific Judges Affirm Justiciability of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
In June 2006 a Pacific regional judicial colloquium and workshop held on the theme ‘Justiciability of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Pacific’, over 40 international jurists agreed a number of practical conclusions and recommendations covering different aspects of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR).
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