The Right to Clothing: Reasserting a Forgotten Right

Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Participating in a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch


Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Annual Conference 2021(Durham, U.K.)

Despite its inclusion within a range of international instruments, most prominently the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the human right to clothing has been labelled a forgotten right. Building upon a recent publication exploring the relationship between the right to clothing and PPE in the context of COVID-19 (International Journal of Human Rights) I seek to further illuminate the right to clothing outside of this limited and narrow context.

Through an examination of the practice of the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), this paper explores the validity of prescribing the right to clothing a forgotten status. Based on a key-term search of all CESCR Annual Reports, Concluding Observations, General Comments, Statements, and Jurisprudence this paper analyses the CESCR’s interactions with clothing generally and the right to clothing more specifically. This paper demonstrates that the CESCR’s practice is extremely limited with respect to the right to clothing and this in turn contributes to the right’s forgotten status.

However, this paper argues that the CESCR’s inclusion of clothing in its engagement with other rights not only evidences the need to reassert the right to clothing but may also serve to illuminate the content of this forgotten right. As such, even despite the right to clothing’s forgotten status stemming from the CESCR’s lack of substantive engagement with this right, I argue that the CESCR’s treatment of the concept of clothing – as distinct to the right to clothing – can not only inform our understanding of the right to clothing but also allow a powerful argument to be made for the reassertion of this right.
Period1 Sept 2021
Event typeConference
LocationDurham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational