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Constituting Economic and Social Rights$
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Katharine G. Young

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641932.001.0001

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Interpreting the Minimum

Interpreting the Minimum

(p.66) 3 Interpreting the Minimum
Constituting Economic and Social Rights

Katharine G. Young

Oxford University Press

The pressure that legal institutions face in interpreting economic and social rights is often expressed as the pressure to determine the minimum content of each right. This chapter discusses attempts to construct such a minimum. It examines the notion of the minimum core, adopted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as the baseline doctrinal obligation for rights to food, health, education and water in international human rights law. The minimum core has been referenced in particular constitutional systems such as South Africa and Colombia. Whether it can provide a proxy for justiciability, or can achieve the goals of determinacy, moderation and consensus, is critically assessed. Other approaches are offered, such as role minimalism for courts and agencies, and the disciplined measurement of baselines for economic and social rights. Finally, the adverse effects of minimalism on the discourse of economic and social rights are explored

Keywords:   minimum core, justiciability, international human rights, committee on economic, role minimalism, measurement, rights-discourse, south africa

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