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Enron and the End of Corporate Governance.

Note: Cover may not represent actual copy or condition available. Global Governance and the Quest for Justice, Vol. Hart Publishing, Click here for the Guide. All the world's great religious and moral traditions, philosophers, and revolutionaries, recognize that human beings deserve to live in freedom, justice, dignity and economic security.

The International Bill of Rights grew out of these traditions, and calls for all governments to make sure their citizens have human rights— civil, political, social, cultural and economic. Referring to economic, social and cultural issues as "rights" uses the legal framework developed under international law, and gives individuals legitimate claims against state and non-state actors for protection and guarantees.

During the Cold War and within trickle-down economic theory, economic, social and cultural rights were frequently mislabled as "benefits," meaning individuals had no basic claims to things like food and shelter. After the Covenant came into force in , jurisprudence around economic and social rights began to develop and great progress followed the formation of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Economic and social rights require governments and other powerful actors to ensure that people have access to basic needs, and that people have a voice in decisions affecting their well-being.

Poverty and injustice are neither inevitable nor natural, but arise from deliberate decisions and policies, and the human rights legal framework provides a way to hold public officials accountable for development policies and priorities.

States are bound to ensure minimum human rights regardless of their resource constraints. For ESC rights, minimum core requirements include available foodstuffs for the population, essential primary health care, basic shelter and housing, and the most basic forms of education.

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How do states fulfill their minimum requirements? Every government in the world has certain responsibilities regarding its citizens. The human rights legal framework spells out those responsibilities with the following three obligations:. Human rights treaties are signed by governments, and are the duty of governments to enforce.

However, this does not mean that non-state actors are free to violate people's human rights.

There are three main ways to apply human rights standards to non-state actors. First, governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, including from violations by non-state actors.


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Second, individuals may enforce their basic rights through judicial action. Finally, non-state actors are bound to respect human rights standards through the universal protection of human dignity. At the international level, the most effective enforcement mechanism for all international human rights is political pressure.

Those states that have ratified the ICESCR are required to submit regular reports every five years to the Committee on Economic and Social Rights that detail their human rights standards. When these reports are reviewed, it provides an excellent opportunity for civil society and the international community at large to put pressure on a country to adhere to its legal obligations.

For those countries that haven't ratified the ICESCR, there are other international venues that apply political pressure.

Global Governance and the Quest for Justice - Volume IV

Larger bodies, like the Commission on Human Rights, can also be used to apply political pressure. Additionally, petitions in regional human rights commissions can also be effective in highlighting an issue and seeking remedy. At the domestic level, there are political and legal remedies for many ESC violations. Although these remedies are still far from comprehensive, they do demonstrate that economic and social rights are fundamentally justiciable.