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Twenty years of economic and social rights advocacy


Can human rights deliver social justice?

When: Monday, February 4, 2013, 6:30-8:30 PM

Where: 108 West Third Street, D’Agostino Hall, NYU School of Law

Valid ID and RSVP are required for this event. If you are interested in attending, please contact CESR Communications Coordinator Luke Holland at The event will be followed by a brief reception. A pdf copy of this invitation can be accessed here.

About the Event:

The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice invite you to a panel event and reception celebrating twenty years of economic and social rights advocacy, and taking stock of the challenges still facing the human rights movement in making these rights a reality in today’s global context.

1993 marked a critical turning point for human rights. That year, the Vienna Declaration brought down the division between two sets of rights which had characterized the Cold War, and affirmed economic, social and cultural rights as rights on an equal footing with civil and political rights, and indivisibly linked to them.

Twenty years on, however, the world is still plagued by widespread poverty and growing inequality, particularly in the wake of the recent financial, fuel and food crises. Despite repeated rhetorical commitments by the international community, hunger, disease and preventable death persist on an obscene scale.

To what extent has the normative recognition of economic and social rights had an impact on economic and social policy at the national and global level?  Has the argument for their ‘justiciability’ been convincingly won? Why are economic and social rights so seldom enforced? And have the tools of of human rights made a tangible difference to the lives of those facing poverty and deprivation?

This event brings together leading figures from the human rights movement to reflect on the progress that has been made in advancing economic and social rights, and the challenges that lie ahead.  The event also marks the twentieth anniversary of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, the first international human rights organization founded to focus specifically on these rights.

Speakers will include:

Philip Alston (Professor of Law, New York University);
Alicia Ely Yamin (Director of the Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard);
Manuel José Cepeda (Universidad de los Andes and former judge of the Constitutional Court of Colombia);
Irene Khan (Director General, International Development Law Organization);
Chris Jochnick (Director, Private Sector Engagement, Oxfam America);
Carin Norberg (former Director of the Nordic Africa Institute);
Ignacio Saiz
, Executive Director of CESR.
For full bios, see here.

If you are interested in attending this event, please contact CESR Communications Coordinator Luke Holland at