Newsletter 8 – July 2012



J. King, Judging Social Rights (Cambridge: CUP, 2012)


J. Tobin, The Right to Health in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012)
This book offers a comprehensive discussion on the status and meaning of the right to health in international law.

B. Toebes, M. Hartlev, A. Hendriks & J. Rothmar Hermann (eds), Health and Human Rights in Europe (Antwerp: Interstentia 2012) This book discusses how the European institutions deal with health and human rights.


E. Friedman & L Gostin, L., ‘Pillars for Progress on the Right to Health: Harnessing the Potential of Human Rights through a Framework Convention on Global Health’ (2012) 14 (1) Health and Human Rights 1-16


E. Kismödi, J. Bueno de Mesquita, X. Andión Ibañez, R. Khosla & L. Sepúlveda, ‘Human Rights Accountability for Maternal Death and Failure to Provide Safe, Legal Abortion: The Significance of Two Ground-breaking CEDAW Decisions’ (2012) 20(39) Reproductive Health Matters 31


V. Mantouvalou ‘The Many Faces of Slavery: The Example of Domestic Work’, Global Dialogue, special issue on ‘Modern Slavery’, August 2012:


Rory O’Connell ‘Human Rights Law’, Oxford Bibliographies Online (28 June 2012)


J. Williams, ‘General Legislative Measures of Implementation: Individual Claims, ‘Public Officer’s Law’ and a Case Study on the UNCRC in Wales (2012) 20(2) International Journal of Children’s Rights 224-240


Bruce Porter & Martha Jackman, Strategies to Address Homelessness and Poverty in Canada: the Constitutional Framework, Working Paper, (Huntsville, ON: Social Rights Advocacy Centre, June 2012)


M. Stephenson, J. Harrison & A. Stewart, Getting Off Lightly or Feeling the Pinch? A Human Rights and Equality Impact Assessment of the Public Spending Cuts on Older Women in Coventry (Coventry: Centre for Human Rights in Practice 2012)


Materials from the ‘Taking the Right Steps – Children’s Rights: Wales and the World’ conference (Swansea, 11-12 June 2012) are now available on-line and may be downloaded from:

This conference featured a range of papers dealing with child ESR and poverty.




General Information

Latest Edition of ESCR-Justice: Monthly Caselaw Update:


Latest Edition of INTERIGHT’S CommonwealthNet: CommonwealthNet is INTERIGHTS’ free monthly information service on the latest human rights decisions in the Commonwealth and common law jurisdictions, providing a concise round-up of judicial decisions in cases raising significant human rights issues in the common law world, with links given to full-text decisions.



B v United Kingdom, App no 36571/06, 14 February 2012, European Court of Human Rights

The applicant received state benefits. She had a learning difficulty and did not appreciate she needed to report that her children were no longer living with her. The Court held there was no violation of the prohibition on non-discrimination together with the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions (Art 14 together with Article 1, Protocol 1 ECHR) in requiring her to pay back the benefits paid to her.


Manzanas Martin v Spain, App no 17966/10, 3 April 2012, European Court of Human Rights

The Court held that the difference between retirement pensions of Catholic priests and Evangelical ministers amounted to discrimination. Here, the state authorities’ refusal to count the Evangelical Minister applicant’s) earlier years of service towards the minimum period of pensionable service, amounted to differential treatment to that applied to others in similar situations, namely priests. This constituted at violation of the prohibition on non-discrimination together with the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions (Art 14 with Article 1, Protocol 1).


Panaitescu v. Romania, App no 30909/06, 10 April 2012, European Court of Human Rights

The Court found a breach of the right to life (Article 2 ECHR) due to the state’s failure to provide cancer treatment drugs in a situation in which there was a legal entitlement in national law of access to the drugs.
Kolyadenko and Others v Russia, App Nos 20534/05, 17423/05, 20678/05, 23263/05, 24283/05 and 35673/05, 28 February 2012, European Court of Human Rights
The Court found the Russian authorities responsible for failing to protect persons from threats to their lives due to flooding. This constituted a violation of the right to life (Article 2 ECHR).

Abdus Sattar Khan & Ors v The State, Criminal Revision No.1043 of 1992, 21 March 2012, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Individuals deprived of their land due to illegal occupation by other groups could not be prosecuted for occupying government land when the government had failed to secure to them the land to which they were legally entitled. Such prosecution would breach the individuals’ constitutional right to life. (Interights summary)


Section 27 and Others v Minister of Education and Anor, [2012] ZAGPPHC 114, 17 May 2012, South Africa High Court (North Gauteng)

The Court ruled that the Minister of Basic Education’s failure to provide textbooks for several Limpopo schools violated the right to basic education under Section 29 of the Constitution. The Court held that the provision of textbooks was an essential component of that right and directed the Limpopo Department of Education, and alternatively the Department of Basic Education, to provide text books no later than 15 June 2012 to all schools which had not yet received their text books.


1 BvL 10/10, 1 BvL 2/11, 2 BvE 4/11, Federal Constitutional Court Germany, 18 July 2012

The Court considered whether the cash benefits paid according to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act to secure the recipients’ existence were constitutional. The Court ruled that the provisions governing basic cash benefits according to the Act were incompatible with the fundamental right to a minimum existence, protected as human dignity in Article 1 sec. 1 in conjunction with Article 20 sec. 1 of the Basic Law. The benefits were evidently insufficient because they had not been changed since 1993 despite considerable price increases in Germany. Furthermore, the amounts provided had not been comprehensibly calculated, nor was it apparent that a realistic, needs-oriented calculation had been carried out that served to presently secure the recipients’ existence. This judgment is in line with the ruling in the Hartz IV case – a decision which applied to German nationals only.

English language press release available at:


2 BvE 4/11, Federal Constitutional Court Germany, 19 June 2012
The Court ruled that the Bundestag, the national parliament, has the right to be heard on the European financial crisis. The court held that the Chancellor had failed to notify the parliament early enough about plans for the European Stability Mechanism from its sister party in Austria. The judgment was mainly based on the national constitution which states that the parliament shall have the right to hear matters concerning the EU. (Facts taken from JURIST)
Judgment in German available at:
Centre for Health, Human Rights & Development & Ors v Attorney General, [2012] UGCC 4, 5 June 2012, Uganda Constitutional Court
Petition alleging constitutional violations arising from inadequate state provision of maternal health care struck out, on the basis that entertaining it would encroach on the domain of the Executive and Legislature and would thus fall foul of the ‘political question’ doctrine. (Interights summary).


Zheng v City of New York, 2012 NY Slip Op 72425, 26 June 2012, New York State Court of Appeals

The Court upheld a decision of the State Supreme Court findings that New York City was not contractually obligated to carry on with a rent subsidy programme which provided durational housing assistance payments to homeless individuals and families, in an effortto transition them to permanent housing. The State argued that a cut in federal assistance meant that it was unable to continue the programme. The Court held that the ‘programme documents’ (certification of eligibility, participant and landlord statements of understanding and a lease rider) did not constitute an enforceable contract.



PAO & Ors v The Attorney General [2012] eKLR; Petition No. 409 of 2009, 20 April 2012, Kenyan High Court (Nairobi)
Certain provisions in the Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008 threatened to limit access to generic HIV/AIDS medication for persons living with HIV/AIDS, and therefore violated the constitutional rights to life, dignity and health. (Interights Summary).
Full text at


Burnip v Birmingham City Council & Anor, [2012] EWCA Civ 629, 15 May 2012, Eng & Wales Court of Appeal
The failure of housing benefit rules to account for the additional needs of disabled individuals led to inadequate payments and a consequential breach of Article 14 ECHR. (Interights Summary).


Humphreys (FC) v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2012] UKSC 18, 16 May 2012, UK Supreme Court

The Court found the state policy of paying child tax credit to only the child’s primary carer indirectly discriminatory against fathers but justified by policy considerations. (The scheme was geared towards reducing child poverty, defined by the state in terms of household income). The Court found that a person’s entitlement to Child Tax Credit is a ‘possession’ for the purposes of Article 1 ECHR.


MK and AH v Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2012] EWHC 1896 (Admin), 10 July 2012, Eng & Wales High Court (Admin)

The ruling centred on an asylum instruction for officials dealing with support applications in terms of Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This instruction served to delay consideration of Section 4 support applications in relation to persons whose previous application for asylum has been rejected and who were making further submissions. The Court found the instruction to be unlawful because of the significant risk that the Article 3 ECHR rights of a significant number of applicants for section 4 support would be breached as result of the policy. The Court stated that street homelessness, or imminent street homelessness, caused by the positive action of the State would ordinarily amount to a breach of Article 3.




The UK Bill of Rights Commission has launched its second consultation. Amongst other things, the consultation document asks for feedback on whether socio-economic rights should be included in a UK Bill of Rights and, if so, what they should be and whether they should be enforceable. The deadline for responses is 30 September 2012. More information is available at:


Government of Scotland, A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on the Proposed Children’s and Young People Bill (The Scottish Government: Edinburgh, 2012)

The deadline for responses is 25 September. This Bill seeks to further embed the UNCRC in Scottish law. It appears from the consultation document that that the Scottish Government is reluctant to incorporate the ‘due regard’ duty imposed on Welsh Ministers by the Children & Young Peoples Measure (Wales) into Scottish law, preferring instead a ‘similar duty’ requiring Scottish Minisers to take appropriate steps to further the rights set out in the UNCRC.


The Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona seeks contributions on the human rights approach to participation of persons living in poverty in decisions that affect their lives. This is in preparation for a forthcoming thematic report to the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council (June 2013). The deadline for submissions is 14 December 2012. More information is available at:


The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued a call for submissions for its report on the ‘rights of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.’ This report will inform the Human Rights Council’s annual day of discussion on child rights in March 2013. The deadline for submissions is 7 September. There is more information at:


Legislation and Guidelines


UN Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, endorsed by UN Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012




Scottish Human Rights Commission, ‘Equality and Human Right Impact Assessment – Invitations to Tender’

The Scottish Human Rights Commission and Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland consider that equality and human rights impact assessments (EQHRIAs) are an essential mechanism for enabling human rights and equality thinking to be embedded into the policies, practices, procedures and priorities of public bodies in Scotland.

To support work in this area, there are 3 separate invitations to tender currently available and applications are invited by close of 10 August 2012:

– Consultant/s for Evaluation; – Consultant/s for Training support; – Consultant/s for Pilot support.

For more information, see




New Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People

The Observatory is a collaborative project based at Swansea University aimed at ensuring that high quality knowledge on human rights and rights-based approaches is targeted where it can make most difference to children and young people, in the policies, practices and laws that affect them. It will provide an international centre for research, advocacy and expertise and will contribute knowledge and innovation to support public policy, practice and law reform. Collaborations will span academic institutions, professions, government, public bodies and non-governmental organisations. To receive information on the Observatory’s work training, publications, information bulletins or consultation responses, please send an email to (just put the words ‘Mailing List’ in the subject line). Alternatively, the Observatory can be followed on Facebook ( or on Twitter (@WalesObsHrcyp)


UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Report on the Human Rights Situation of Older Persons, UN Doc. E/2012/51, 20 April 2012

This report includes an analysis of existing international instruments and gaps in the protection regime for the human rights of older persons. It concludes that older persons face particular and urgent human rights challenges, including in relation to economic and social rights.


UN Special Rapporteurs ‘G-8 / EU: “A global financial transaction tax, a human rights imperative now more than ever”’, 14 May 2012
Chairperson, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Letter to States Parties in the context of the economic and financial crisis, 16 May 2012)


European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the United Nations Development Programme, The Situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States: Survey Results at a Glance, 23 May 2012.

The report found that Roma and Gypsy communities in Western Europe often face similar levels of discrimination as their counterparts in Eastern Europe, with their situation being on average worse than their non-Roma neighbours when it comes to jobs, education, housing and health.


Human Rights Council, Draft Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/13/L.7, 29 May 2012

This report covers a range of issues related to ESR enjoyment in the UK.


Scottish Human Rights Commission, ‘Why Scotland Needs a National Action Plan for Human Rights’ for inclusion in the bulletin?’ (18 June 2012)
This briefing previews the publication in October 2012 of the findings of a three year research project in which the Scottish Human Rights Commission (the Commission) mapped the realisation of internationally recognised human rights in Scotland. The research reveals that whilst Scotland has made notable progress, it can do better. It has a relatively strong legal and institutional framework for human rights, some examples of positive strategy and policy direction but the actual outcomes for people often remain inconsistent. Scotland therefore needs a more systematic approach to assure and not assume the realisation of human rights in practice. Strong human rights based legal and policy frameworks must be translated into more consistent positive outcomes to which individuals are entitled.
Joint Committee on Human Rights, Second Report on the Implementation of the Right of Disabled People to Independent Living: Government Response to the Committee’s Twenty-third Report of Session 2010-12, 26 June 2012

The Government’s response, as detailed in the report, deals with a range of issues related to the ESR of people with disabilities.


Oxfam, The Perfect Storm: Economic stagnation, the rising cost of living, public spending cuts, and the impact on UK poverty (June 2012):

This report focuses on a range of ESR in the UK – although generally not explicitly – including weak labour rights, housing and social welfare.

Rory O’Connell, ‘NI Budget and Human Rights (Pt 1 & 2), Rights NI Blog


Aoife Nolan, ‘Don’t believe everything you read: the case for socio-economic rights’, UK Human Rights Blog


Catherine Donnelly, Paper on ‘Judicial Review’ with a focus on austerity cases 14th Annual Human Rights and Equality Conference, Belfast, 23 March 2012


Latest Edition of OHCHR ESCR Bulletin:

The OHCHR ESCR Bulletin provides updates on economic, social and cultural rights for OHCHR staff working in the field and at Headquarters. Issued every two months, this Bulletin aims at sharing news, activities, key events and new resources relevant to economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR).


Latest Edition of ESCR-Net Newsletter:


Latest Edition of Equality and Diversity Forum Newsletter: The EDF Newsletter contains information about new equality and human rights developments, policy and publications, as well as details of forthcoming events and job vacancies.




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