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Enhancing Enforcement of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Using Indicators: A Focus on the Right to Education in the ICESCR


Sital Kalantry


University of Chicago - Law School; University of Chicago

Jocelyn E. Getgen


Cornell University - School of Law

Stephen Arrigg Koh


Law Clerk to the Honorable Carolyn Dineen King, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. J.D., Cornell Law School; M.Phil. University of Cambridge, England; A.B., Harvard University

November 6, 2009

Human Rights Quarterly, Forthcoming
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-031

Abstract:     
Nearly fifteen years ago, Audrey R. Chapman emphasized the importance of ascertaining violations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as a means to enhance its enforcement. Today, the violations approach is even more salient given the recent adoption of the ICESCR’s Optional Protocol, a powerful tool to hold States parties accountable for violations.

Indicators are essential tools for assessing violations of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) because they are often the best way to measure progressive realization. Proposed guidelines on using indicators give guidance on the content of States parties reports to treaty monitoring bodies, but none creates a framework to assess violations of a specific right in a particular treaty.

This article fills this void by providing a framework to assess State compliance that integrates indicators into the project of ascertaining specific violations of economic, social and cultural rights under the ICESCR. The methodology that we propose calls for: 1) analyzing the specific language of the treaty that pertains to the right in question; 2) defining the concept and scope of the right; 3) identifying appropriate indicators that correlate with State obligations; 4) setting benchmarks to measure progressive realization; and 5) clearly identifying violations of the right in question.

We illustrate our approach by focusing on the right to education in the ICESCR. In addition to assessing right to education violations, this methodology can be employed to develop frameworks for ascertaining violations of other ESCRs as well.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 74

Keywords: right to education, human rights, indicators and economic, social and cultural rights

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Date posted: November 7, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Kalantry, Sital and Getgen, Jocelyn E. and Koh, Stephen Arrigg, Enhancing Enforcement of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Using Indicators: A Focus on the Right to Education in the ICESCR (November 6, 2009). Human Rights Quarterly, Forthcoming; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-031. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1501293

Contact Information

Sital Kalantry (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Law School ( email )
1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
University of Chicago ( email )
Jocelyn E. Getgen
Cornell University - School of Law ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Stephen Arrigg Koh
Law Clerk to the Honorable Carolyn Dineen King, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. J.D., Cornell Law School; M.Phil. University of Cambridge, England; A.B., Harvard University
No Address Available
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