In the pursuit of socio-economic rights fulfilment : the case of a minimum core
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It has been established that austerity measures pose significant challenges to the degree of socioeconomic rights protection. Considering the fact that retrogressive measures and cuts in social services impact disproportionately the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of society, it has been argued that states must respect a net of minimum core obligations in order to comply with their human rights commitments. However, the task of defining the content of these minimum socio-economic obligations and determining an absolute threshold is entangled with multiple difficulties. Clarifying the normative assumptions in favor of the minimum core, assessing their theoretical consistency as well as their overall degree of feasibility are among the main tasks of this paper. While enumerating the different approaches that attempt to define a minimum content of socio-economic rights, this paper concludes that as a binding and universal concept, the minimum core lacks the necessary flexibility to adapt in divergent circumstances and needs. Eventually, the task of designating a minimum threshold proves to be detrimental to the aspiration of social justice and social inclusion. Alternatively, a commitment towards socio-economic rights fulfillment through democratic practices and ad hoc deliberation depending on the exigencies of particular circumstances is better placed in order to mitigate the negative impacts of austerity measures and lead to the empowerment of individuals.