Using Structural Interdicts and the South African Human Rights Commission to Achieve Judicial Enforcement of Economic and Social Rights in South Africa

42 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2008  

Mitra Ebadolahi

New York University School of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2008

Abstract

In 1996, South Africa's transformative Constitution inspired human rights activists worldwide by incorporating justiciable economic and social rights (ESRs), including rights to housing, health care, food, water, social security, and basic education. Yet over the past twelve years, problems related to separation of powers considerations, vagueness concerns, and enforcement costs have impeded the South African judiciary's efforts to enforce these crucial rights meaningfully. After surveying these obstacles, this Note offers a two-step proposal for change: increased use of the structural interdict remedy and an enhanced, collaborative role for the South African Human Rights Commission. Used in tandem, these measures can improve judicial enforcement of ESRs in South Africa - and perhaps set a concrete example for the rest of the world.

Keywords: South Africa, economic and social rights, justiciable human rights, human rights, comparative constitutional law, foreign law, structural interdicts, remedies, South African Human Rights Commission, health care, housing, education, social security, food, water

Suggested Citation

Ebadolahi, Mitra, Using Structural Interdicts and the South African Human Rights Commission to Achieve Judicial Enforcement of Economic and Social Rights in South Africa (November 1, 2008). New York University Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 5, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1312452

Mitra Ebadolahi (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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