Not Fit for Purpose? Human Rights in Times of Financial and Economic Crisis
2015 (4) European Human Rights Law Review 358-369
19 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 19, 2015
This article responds to a key event, or rather two key events – the financial and economic crises that kicked off in 2007-2008. It addresses a conundrum that became clear as the impacts of both the crises themselves, and state responses to them developed. That conundrum is this: while there had never been such extensive global recognition accorded to human rights language and concepts as at the point when the crises broke, human rights did not form a central – or even a significant part – of national and supranational policymakers’ post-crisis analyses or remedies. Nor did they serve as barriers in terms of protecting the socially vulnerable from the negative impacts of the crises and measures taken in response to them. This raises two questions that I will address here: first, why was this? And, second, what can we learn from this contemporary experience in order to make human rights meaningful in future times of crisis?
Keywords: human rights, economic crisis, financial crisis, austerity, neoliberalism, economic and social rights, right to a fair trial, civil and political rights, economics, non-state actors, social rights, extra-territorial obligations, socio-economic rights, Europe, European Union, United States
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