Socio-Economic Rights under International and Zimbabwean Laws
Matika, Edzai Edson
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Socio-economic rights fail into the category of rights, which is known as the second generation of rights, the first generation being that of the civil and political rights. These are the rights that the state has to fulfill. They require positive action, forward planning and the expenditure of resources on the part of the state to make their enjoyment a reality. Socio-economic rights are incapable of immediate application. They cannot simply be enforced through the courts of law in the same manner as civil and political rights. Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter referred to as the ICESCR) even obliges state parties to take reasonable steps to ensure the enjoyment of such rights, "including particularly the adoption of legislative measures." All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent. The international community must treat all human rights globally in a fair and equal manner on the same footing and with the same emphasis.1 It seems though that the international community has subdivided the rights into categories that depend on the status of the rights. The people have also been made to believe that there are certain rights that are more superior to others. The Vienna Declaration of Programme of Action clearly recognizes the interrelationship and the interdependence of civil and political rights and the socio- economic rights. Notwithstanding this interaction, there have been divisions over the status of socio-economic rights. Civil and political rights are believed to be more superior to socio-economic rights since they are said to form the basis for the protection of all other human rights.