Socio Economic Rights Project
We focus on the realisation of socio-economic rights of groups and communities living in poverty and engage in applied research in the area of socio-economic rights.
Staff members of the Community Law Centre were actively involved in a broad-based civil society campaign to ensure the inclusion of socio-economic rights as justiciable rights in the Bill of Rights in the 1996 Constitution.
They also conducted in-depth research and provided technical assistance to the Constitutional Assembly on the drafting of the relevant provisions protecting socio-economic rights in the Constitution. Since the inclusion of these rights in the Constitution, the work of the Centre has shifted to ensuring that the socio-economic rights are translated into tangible realities for the people of South Africa.
The Socio-Economic Rights Project of the Community Law Centre was formed in 1997 with the aim of promoting the effective implementation, monitoring and enforcement of the socio-economic rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights. Since its establishment the Project has had a close working relationship with the Centre for Human Rights based at the University of Pretoria. The Project seeks to ensure that socio-economic rights are accessible and enjoyed by everyone, particularly those groups and communities afflicted by poverty.
The Project supports the principle of the interdependency and interrelatedness of all human rights. However, we focus particularly on socio-economic rights in the South African context because:
- The struggle against apartheid was as much about access to socio-economic rights as it was about a right to vote and other civil liberties;
- Socio-economic rights enshrined in the highest law of the land gives poor people important tools in their struggle for resources, services and opportunities in our new democracy;
- Socio-economic rights are an integral component of the reconstruction and development of South African society.
- Socio-economic rights have been historically relegated to the margins of human rights discourse and practice, but are increasingly being recognised as an important part of global struggles for a more just social and economic order.
In pursuit of its main objectives, the Project participates in a range of activities. These include:
- Applied research;
- Advocacy and monitoring;
- Hosting workshops, seminars and conferences;
- Developing resource and educational materials; and
- Supporting public interest litigation.