Taxation as a human rights issue : taxation and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
In recent years the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has been devoting increasing attention to matters on taxation. This thesis analyses the current state of affairs of the Committee’s work on taxation and departs from this. It is argued that the Committee should adopt a General Comment on taxation. Tax policy may not have an obvious relation to the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights. The fact that tax policy is human rights policy becomes clear when three characteristics are considered. First, the progressive realisation of economic, social and cultural rights depends on the extent to which financial resources are made available in order to be allocated and spent. Second, tax policies have a redistributive function with the potential to redress systemic social, economic and gender inequalities. It is through the tax system that market imbalances and historical discriminations embedded in societies can be regulated and the common good protected. Third, the state’s legitimacy to levy taxes derives from a civic contract which rests on the fulfilment of the rights of the citizenry and which is strengthened by the application of the principles of participation, transparency and accountability.