The Human Rights Approach to Social Protection

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, 2012

72 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2012

See all articles by Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona

Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona

United Nations

Carly Nyst

Privacy International

Heidi Hautala

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 1, 2012


Dr. Magdalena Sepúlveda of Chile has worked for the past four years for the United Nations Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. In its resolution 8/11 (2008), the UN Human Rights Council requested that she examine the relationship between extreme poverty and the enjoyment of human rights, paying particular attention to the situation of vulnerable groups and the impact of discrimination.

The Special Rapporteur set out to elaborate and promote a human rights framework for social protection, identifying best practices and disseminating lessons learned. Her approach involves the application of the central human rights principles of the human rights framework - equality and non-discrimination (including accessibility, acceptability, affordability and the incorporation of the gender perspective), participation, transparency and accountability - to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social protection systems.

In this publication Dr. Sepúlveda and her assistant Ms. Carly Nyst have synthesised the key findings and recommendations from the following reports of the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly: 1) Human rights and cash transfer programmes; 2) The role of social protection in the face of the global financial crisis; 3) A human rights framework for non-contributory pensions; 4) The importance of social protection measures in achieving the MDGs, with a particular focus on gender-related concerns; and 5) The human rights approach to recovery from the global economic and financial crises.

The publication also draws from the Special Rapporteur's country reports on Ecuador, Zambia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ireland, Timor-Leste and Paraguay. The publication contains a Foreword by Finland's Minister for International Development, Ms. Heidi Hautala.

Keywords: social protection, poverty, human rights, development, cash transfer, income grant

Suggested Citation

Sepulveda Carmona, Magdalena and Nyst, Carly and Hautala, Heidi, The Human Rights Approach to Social Protection (June 1, 2012). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Carly Nyst

Privacy International ( email )

62 Britton street
London, eC1m 5uy
United Kingdom

Heidi Hautala

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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