Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

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 – 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 can 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 should be informed by a longer history of economic crises, assisted by both international and comparative economic and social rights frameworks, and open to the institutional reimagination that the idea of human rights helps to generate.

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