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PROJECT TOPIC- ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL RIGHTS WITHIN MUNICIPAL AND INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTIONS

PROJECT TOPIC- ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL RIGHTS WITHIN MUNICIPAL AND INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTIONS

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the Study

Social, Economic and Cultural Rights are certain privileges and entitlements accruing to human beings as members of a political community. Such rights include access to education, science, shelter, health, employment, freedom to associate and not to be discriminated against protection of one’s cultural heritage and values. Though some of these rights are not fundamental in Nigeria, they are recognized and protected under Municipal and International Human Rights Instruments.

Member states have a legal obligation to respect, protect and implement these social, economic and cultural rights and are expected to take “progressive action” towards their fulfilment. The Enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights elicited heated debate in the United Nations during the drafting of the International Bills of Human Rights. The outcome of the controversy was the Bifurcation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights recognizes a number of social, economic and cultural rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as the primary international legal source of social, economic and cultural rights. The Convention on Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women recognize and protects many Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (recognized in the ICESCR) in relation to Children and Women.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination prohibits discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, in relation to a number of social, economic and cultural rights. Social, Economic and Cultural Rights are recognized and protected in a number of Municipal and International Human Rights Instruments. Under Municipal Jurisdiction Social, Economic and Cultural Rights are recognized and protected by the following instruments, viz :-

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act, The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and The Child Right’s Act. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act protects the right to work in Article 15, the right to health in Article 16 and the right to education in Article 17. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which provides for the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy specifically provides for Social, Economic and Cultural Rights under Section 16 and 17.

However, it is worthy to note that Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is not enforceable. The Child Rights Act recognizes and protects many social, economic and cultural rights of children. These rights include but not limited to the following: Rights to education[1], Rights to adequate standard of living[2], Right to protection from economic exploitation[3] and the right to health[4].

In the realm of International Jurisdiction the following international human rights instruments recognize and protect the social and economic rights, they are among others: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights is the primary international legal source of socio-economic and cultural rights.

The Convention recognizes and protects the right to work and favourable working conditions in Article 6 and 7, the right to join trade unions and take collective labour action in Article 8, the right to social security in Article 9, the right to protection of the family, including protection for mothers and children in Article 10, the right to an adequate standard of living, including the right to food and the right to housing in Article 11, the right to health in Article 12, the right to education in Article 13, as well as the right to participate in cultural life and the right to benefits of science and culture in Article 15.

Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes and protects many Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, in relation to children; Including the right to health in Article 25, the right to an adequate standard of living in Article 27, the right to education in Article 28, and the right to protection from economic exploitation[5] in Article32. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination prohibits discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin in relation to a number of social, economic and cultural rights. Drawing from the above exposition, this work is aimed at exploring the entire Social, Economic and Cultural Rights vis-a-vis their Enforcement within the existing Municipal and International Legal Frameworks.

PROJECT TOPIC- ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL RIGHTS WITHIN MUNICIPAL AND INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTIONS

  • Statement of the Problem

The Fundamental problem which this research tends to solve is “The Enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights under Municipal and International Jurisdictions”.

  • Research Questions

Drawing from the statement of problem above, we shall interrogate the following questions:

  1. Does 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provide Mechanism for Enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights?
  2. Has the adoption of Human Rights International Instruments promoted the observance of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights by Member States?
  3. Is absence of Binding force in the International Instruments for the protections of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights impinge on their Enforcement in Nigeria?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

            The Objectives of this study are of two folds: the Broad and Specific Objectives. The broad objective is to explore the enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights under Municipal and International Jurisdictions.

The Specific Objectives are:

  1. To ascertain if 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides Mechanism for Enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.
  2. To verify whether Adoption of Human Rights International Instruments Promoted the Observance of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights by Member States.
  3. To verify if absence of Binding forces in the International Instruments for the Protection of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Impinges in their Enforcement in Nigeria.

1.5 The Scope of the Study

            The scope of this work is to analyze the Enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights under Municipal and International Jurisdictions.

1.6 Significance of the Study

            This work has theoretical and practical significances. At the level of theory, this work will fill the literature gap and illuminate understanding on the various ramifications of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights vis-a-vis Their Enforcement within Municipal and International Jurisdictions.

This work will specifically elucidate and analytically examine those technical challenges confronting Enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights and bring such knowledge to the fore in legal studies and subsequent researches on this subject.

Practically it will serve as a policy guide to Nigerian Government and International Community, especially to those Agencies, Commissions and Organs charged with the responsibility of projecting and protecting Human Rights Globally. Such guide to be provided with this work will enable government of various states to reappraise and improve on their human rights practices and records. While at the Global Level guide Human Rights advocate on the strategies to be adopted to ensure greater recognition and enforcement of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights across the globe.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

 A number of factors constituted hitches in carrying out this research. The sudden realization of the Law Faculty, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki to fast track the semester to meet Nigeria law school programme grossly narrowed down the time for data generation for this work. Besides, sitting for exams while the research is going on, equally constituted a constrain, coupled with financial implication, especially to some of us that are from average income homes. However, despite the above, the work was a huge success

1.8 Research Methodology

This work will employ a Doctrinal Research Methodology. Data will be sourced from primary materials like Statutes, Case laws; and secondary sources like Articles journals, Law reviews, and works of varying authors on the topic and related topics. References will also be made to the internet, dictionaries and encyclopaedias.

PROJECT TOPIC- ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL RIGHTS WITHIN MUNICIPAL AND INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTIONS

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