Economic and Social Rights in the Context of the International Economic System: Paradoxes of the Normative Globalization of Human rights

Prof. Reda El Fellah

The universal human rights “revolution” is deeply contextualized in the structure of the international economic system currently marked by the triumph of globalization and neo-liberalism.
Based on John Meyers' neo-institutionalist analysis, the Nation-State is approached as a product of the global society. Indeed, the macro-structural level of the global economy exerts a strong pressure on human rights. This is highly reflected at the sub-national level in the form of a decoupling between the discourse on rights and liberties, and the alarming reality of social and economic rights violations, and the widening gap of inequality worldwide. Inevitably, such situation deprives civic and political rights from their meaning and relevance.
In a global economic architecture shaped to serve the supreme interests of the free market and the powerful actors of globalization, it seems obvious that the nation state is losing its ability to cope with the increasing pace of social and economic disparities that fuel human rights violations. In reaction to this dilemma, the globalization of the normative framework of human rights seems inadequate, and paradoxically it sustains an anachronistic and a disguised rhetoric about human rights violations.
This article argues that the international normative framework of human rights is not only inadequate to cope with human rights implementation as a whole, but it is also a biased legal system which promotes civic and political rights while disadvantaging social and economic rights from a global perspective.
This article will first analyze the impact of the global economic system on economic and social rights. Then, it will demonstrate the inadequacy of the international normative and institutional framework. The third section will be devoted to formulating some proposals for a holistic and a practical conception of human rights that combines civil and political rights with economic and social rights; discourse and reality; in a worldwide perspective linking sub-national state actors to transnational non-state actors.