Political Philosophy in Action: Developing the Minimum Core Approach to Socio-Economic Rights

David Bilchitz

in Poverty and Fundamental Rights

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552160
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191709456 | DOI:
 Political Philosophy in Action: Developing the Minimum Core Approach to Socio-Economic Rights

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This chapter advocates a modified version of the ‘minimum core approach’ adopted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its third General Comment. It is argued that the normative basis of this approach has not been adequately developed, nor have its full implications been properly considered. The approach involves distinguishing between the two thresholds of interests that individuals have and giving priority to the realisation of the first threshold. Two notions of priority are distinguished: ‘lexical priority’ and ‘weighted priority’. It is argued that any failure to meet the first threshold places a heavy burden of justification upon the government to explain why the most fundamental interests of individuals have not been met. The government also has obligations to take measures progressively to realise the second threshold and is required to justify its actions in this regard. A range of objections are considered and the approach is developed in the course of responding to these objections.

Keywords: minimum core approach; General Comment; lexical priority; weighted priority; burden of justification; determinacy; self-standing right; resource scarcity; thresholds; fundamental interests

Chapter.  30347 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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