Key concepts on ESCRs -What are examples of violations of economic, social and cultural rights?



A violation of economic, social and cultural rights occurs when a State fails in its obligations to ensure that they are enjoyed without discrimination or in its obligation to respect, protect and fulfil them. Often a violation of one of the rights is linked to a violation of other rights.


A few examples of violations of economic, social and cultural rights include:

  • Forcibly evicting people from their homes (the right to adequate housing)
  • Contaminating water, for example, with waste from State-owned facilities (the right to health)
  • Failure to ensure a minimum wage sufficient for a decent living (rights at work)
  • Failure to prevent starvation in all areas and communities in the country (freedom from hunger)
  • Denying access to information and services related to sexual and reproductive health (the right to health)
  • Systematically segregating children with disabilities from mainstream schools (the right to education)
  • Failure to prevent employers from discriminating in recruitment (based on sex, disability, race, political opinion, social origin, HIV status, etc.) (The right to work)
  • Failure to prohibit public and private entities from destroying or contaminating food and its source, such as arable land and water (the right to food)
  • Failure to provide for a reasonable limitation of working hours in the public and private sector (rights at work)
  • Banning the use of minority or indigenous languages (the right to participate in cultural life)
  • Denying social assistance to people because of their status (e.g., people without a fixed domicile, asylum-seekers) (the right to social security)
  • Failure to ensure maternity leave for working mothers (protection of and assistance to the family)
  • Arbitrary and illegal disconnection of water for personal and domestic use (the right to water).

For more information, see the Fact Sheet No. 33.- ArabicEnglish | French | Russian | Spanish