Authors: Katharine G. Young
Addresses: Boston College Law School, 885 Centre Street, Newton MA 02459, USA
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a health and economic crisis of unprecedented scope. As economists and policymakers turn to the task of recovery, protecting human rights remains intrinsically important, both morally and legally. It is also instrumental to the ends of public health and economic resilience. This article argues that the human rights to life, health, education, social security, housing, food, water and sanitation - among the so-called economic and social rights - are as essential as civil and political protections. Moreover, rather than simply ameliorate the inevitable indignities and material deprivations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of duties to respect economic and social rights should help ensure their protection in the post-COVID-19 economy. For this to occur, however, the article suggests that the application of human rights to the economic recovery must be informed by a longer history of economic crises and be assisted by both international and comparative economic and social rights legal frameworks and participatory processes.
Keywords: human rights; COVID-19; economic recovery; crisis; economic and social rights; Great Depression; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Global Financial Crisis; right to life; right to social security; progressive realization; non-retrogression; minimum core; maximum available resources; constitutional rights.
International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2020 Vol.6 No.4, pp.390 - 415
Received: 28 Sep 2020
Accepted: 11 Nov 2020
Published online: 26 Apr 2021 *