The series “WissensWerte” (civic education clips) on human rights consists of a general film on this issue and one film on each of the three dimensions of human rights. Each dimension is of equal importance in the human rights system.

The history of human rights, current human rights violations, as well as the

development of the human rights system and its greatest problems, are also examined.
This clip looks at the second dimension: economic, social and cultural rights, also

known as ESC rights.


What is more, it examines the role of NGOs such as Amnesty International and looks at

women’s human rights.

But exactly which rights belong to the second dimension?

Economic rights include: the right to work and the right to fair working conditions.

The right to form trade unions, the right to strike and a ban on child and forced


Social rights include:
The right to social security and the right to a decent standard of living. This also

comprises the right to clothing, housing and food, in particular access to water.
Furthermore, they include the protection of the health of mothers and children and the

right to education for all, together with free access to primary education.


Cultural rights are also fostered and protected, in particular the rights of minorities

or indige¬nous peoples. For example, the right to participate in cultural life. And the

protection of intellectual property.

What is more, the ban on discrimination forms a key part of all human rights.
No one should be discriminated against on the grounds of their origins, religion,

gender, sexual orientation, the colour of their skin, age or other differences.


Economic, social and cultural rights emerged in 1966 when they were set out in the

United Nations International Covenant which deals with these rights.
The international convention entered into force in 1976. It has now been ratified by

160 states.


Originally, the idea was that this Covenant and the Covenant on Civil and Political

Rights would form a single comprehensive convention.

During the Cold War, however, East and West could not agree. Human rights became a pawn

for political interests.

The rights of the first dimension – such as freedom of opinion and political

participation – were a problem for the authoritarian governments of the Eastern bloc.

They therefore pre¬ferred to promote the ESC rights of the second dimension in the

debate on human rights.
Partly in reaction to this and partly out of conviction, the Western bloc focused on

civil and political rights.



This meant that ESC rights received less attention than civil and political rights

during this period.

While the rights of the first dimension were considered to be legally enforceable, ESC

rights were regarded more as goals to be achieved.

Since the end of the Cold War, however, there has been a push to give ESC rights the

same legal status as civil and political rights.
This is important for it promotes the principle of the indivisibility of human rights.

NGOs play a key role in developing and implementing this legal foundation.

NGOs are civil society organizations which do not have any ties with governments.

There are a large number of NGOs in the field of human rights. The best known

organizations which campaign in a wide range of fields include Amnesty International,

Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First and the International Society for Human Rights.
有很多人權領域的非政府組織。其中,為人熟知的包括,國際特赦組織、人權觀察、Human Rights

First、International Soiety for Human Rights。
There are also many organizations with a special focus. For example, Human Rights

Cam¬paign promotes the rights of homosexual and transsexual people. FIAN focuses on the

right to food. Habitat International Coalition champions the right to housing. While

Survival Inter¬national focuses on the human rights of indigenous peoples.
In addition to these well-known examples, there are countless small local NGOs which do

valuable work in the human rights field.
也有很多組織專注在特定議題。例如,Human Rights Cam¬paign 關注同志與跨性別人權。FIAN專注

於食品資訊相關的權利。Habitat International Coalition專注在爭取居住環境品質的權利。

Survival Inter¬national則專注在原住民的人權議題上。

NGOs have a broad range of instruments:

They provide information on human rights:

For only those who know their rights can exercise or fight for them.

They monitor human rights violations around the world and draw attention to them.

They protest and organize campaigns against human rights violations. The public outrage

this provokes turns into pressure on those violating human rights.

They help the victims of human rights violations to join forces and better protect

their interests.

They work in national and international bodies to extend the human rights system.

Many NGOs offer the chance to become involved at various levels. They are thus a key

point of contact for anyone who is interested in human rights or would like to become

actively involved in championing them.


The question of women’s human rights is also closely linked to ESC rights. For women in

particular are often denied ESC rights.

Around two-thirds of the world’s poor and illiterate are women. Women earn less: in the

EU, the average income of female workers is typically one quarter lower than that of

their male colleagues.
全球大約三分之二的貧困和文盲者是女性。: 在歐盟,女性員工的收入通常只有男性的四分之三(


And the situation regarding first dimension rights is not much better. For example,

only around ten percent of the world’s members of parliament are women.女性在第一代人權


The UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which

entered into force in 1981, was an important step forward. In 2000, an Optional

Protocol allowing individuals or groups to submit a complaint entered into force. This

made it easier to enforce rights.


The final declaration of the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993

was the first document to also describe violence against women in the private sphere as

a human rights violation and to condemn it.


Despite this progress, the extreme discrimination suffered by women remains one of the

big¬gest problems in the human rights system.

More information on human rights and the other dimensions can be found in the other

WissensWerte Clips.

- Economic rights經濟權
- Trade union 工會
- This plant is on strike 這個星球在抗議/地球在罷工
- Social rights 社會權
- Education 教育
- Cultural rights 文化權
- All individuals are equal 所有的人皆平等
- International Covenant on ESC rights經濟、社會和文化權利國際公約
- Signed 簽署
- Ratified 批准
- International Covenant on Human Rights 國際人權公約
- Eastern bloc states 蘇聯集團/社會主義陣營/共產主義陣營
- Western bloc states 西方聯盟/資本主義陣營/自由主義陣營
- Enforceable right 執行權
- Goals to be achieved目標可以被達成
- Indivisible 不可分割的
- Stop 停止
- National 國家的
- International 國際的
- Poor 貧困
- Illiterate 文盲
- Seats in parliaments 會議席次
- Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
- CEDAW Convention
- Optional Protocol on individual and group complaints
- World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna)
- Final declaration
- Second dimension, NGO, women’s rights

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