Legal Opinion: The Right to Property from a Human Rights Perspective
32 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2010
Date Written: 2010
The concept of property rights is often associated with commercial rights protecting corporate ownership of goods, land, or scientific innovation. However this narrow reading obscures the importance of the right to property as a human right and the social function of property as a dimension of other human rights including the human rights to food, housing and social security.
The legal opinion was commissioned by Rights & Democracy and written by Dr. Christophe Golay and Ms. Ioana Cismas at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. It compiles and comments upon existing instruments and jurisprudence at the international, regional and national levels. The authors conclude that the human right to property has two main components: on one hand it is essential for the protection of human life and dignity, and on the other hand it may be limited in order to resolve social injustices and advance the human rights of specific disadvantaged individuals or groups.
The legal opinion will be of interest to academics and human rights activists working on questions related to access to land, the right to food and the right to housing as well as foreign investment and the activities of transnational corporations.
Keywords: right to property, human rights, economic, social and cultural rights, right to food, right to housing
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