Workshop on Vertical Inequality and Human Rights

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Economic inequalities are increasingly prominent in public debates. From Thomas Piketty’s seminal text Capital in the Twenty-First Century and the work of the team of the World Inequality Database, to Oxfam’s campaign highlighting the injustice of extreme economic inequalities, the economic inequalities regularly make the headlines and top policy debate agendas. In 2013, former US President Obama declared inequality was the ‘defining issue of our times’ and major social protest movements of the last decade and the rise to power of populist groups, have been attributed to economic inequality and powerlessness. In this context, the human rights movement has been criticised for failing to address issues of economic inequality. Some commentators have even suggested that the human rights framework is not equipped to address these issues.

In this context, we have embarked on a new project with the Science Po Law Clinic to explore if, and how, the human rights framework and mechanisms respond to the issue of vertical (economic) inequality.

New research focusing on how and when the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Treaty Bodies have addressed economic inequalities was discussed at a workshop in Paris co-hosted by the Sciences Po Law Clinic and GI-ESCR on 17th May 2019. The workshop brought together leading human rights academics, advocates and UN representatives, for human rights actors to reflect and strategise on the contribution of human rights to tackle economic inequalities.

Read the full blog post on the Oxford Human Rights Hub.