Make our rights law
Let's say you have been forcibly evicted from your home. Your family is left homeless, but the law in your country offers you no protection and no compensation. What do you do? Who do you turn to?
You are pregnant, but cannot get the life-saving maternal health care you need without bribing hospital officials, a bribe that you cannot afford to pay. Who can you complain to?
People’s rights to education, adequate housing, water and sanitation, health and food are violated on a daily basis – particularly if they live in poverty. And too often, people who try to challenge these violations are denied justice.
Across the world, there is an urgent need for greater accountability for violations of economic, social and cultural rights. In many countries, many or all of these rights are not recognized or enforceable by law, leaving people with little hope of remedy. If remedies do exist, and even when they are enforced, they often fail to provide true compensation, or rehabilitation.
When governments violate people’s rights, the victims − whether they are individuals, groups or whole communities − must have access to justice. They must be provided with an effective remedy that repairs the specific harm inflicted on the victims, for example, giving someone back the home they were forcibly evicted from and providing a legal guarantee that this violation will not happen again.
What are we calling for?
Through its research, Amnesty International has proven that many governments have not established effective ways for people, especially those living in poverty, to claim their right to a remedy and hold their governments to account.
Amnesty International calls on all governments to:
- Ensure economic, social and cultural rights are enforceable - governments must ensure these rights are enforceable in national law. All countries must ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol.
- Ensure effective and accessible remedies for violations - governments must remove obstacles to access to justice for victims of human rights violations, in particular those that exclude people living in poverty, and provide legal aid. They should ensure national human rights institutions and regulatory bodies have the capacity and mandate to investigate complaints of violations and monitor government performance to ensure compliance with human rights.
- Comply with judgments in full - governments must comply with human rights decisions by the judiciary and regional and international human rights mechanisms.