Using a Human Rights Framework to Tackle Destitution

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


Contemporary Challenges to Human Rights Law (2018) (Brighton, U.K.)

Destitution, which is at record levels in the UK, is seldom addressed at a policy level from a human rights perspective. Consequently, the nexus between destitution and the denial of economic, social and cultural rights remains unrecognised within academia and policy and practice. This is despite the explicit link between destitution and the lack of enjoyment of several fundamental social and economic rights.

In order to highlight and address the challenge destitution poses to contemporary human rights law, this paper will place the concept of destitution within a human rights framework through determining which social and economic rights constitute the component rights of a rights-based definition of destitution.

This will be achieved through examining the key themes and concepts inherent within existing legal and non-legal definitions of destitution, to determine which economic, social and cultural rights most readily align with existing conceptions of destitution. The intersection between related concepts of extreme poverty, destitution and ‘survival/subsistence rights’ will be examined with a view to using a rights based framework to differentiate poverty from extreme poverty. Subsequently these concepts will be utilised as a tool by which to determine which economic, social and cultural rights should form the first part of a rights-based definition of destitution: the component rights.

The central contention is that the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to social security are the most useful and the most significant when using economic, social and cultural rights to tackle destitution.

Through framing the destitution experience in terms of tangible rights the aim is to further effective policy and law to tackle, and mobilise against, destitution. Thus, the prevention and alleviation of destitution whilst being of value in itself, can also be a stimulus for the implementation of fundamental social and economic rights at the domestic level
PeriodDec 2018
Event typeConference
LocationBrighton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational