Austerity at what cost? : a comparative analysis of the protective standards of economic, social and cultural rights during economic crisis

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Tsolaki, Chrysanthi
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The economic crisis of 2008 had a severe impact on the economic, social and cultural rights of people, which was aggravated by the responses taken by the affected states, including a variety of austerity measures that focused on public expenditure cuts, tax raises and labor law reforms. Not a long time after the adoption of such measures, the responsible bodies for the protection of human rights were called to decide on cases where those measures were impugned as violating people‟s rights. This research examines the criteria employed by three bodies, namely the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the European Committee of Social Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. First, it analyzes the criteria‟s theoretical framework and their application by the relevant bodies, identifying the bodies‟ strengths and weaknesses, the latter mainly relating to the adoption or not of the crisis and emergency narratives. While several similarities are observed in their approach, the research also engages in identifying certain differences in the way they handle crisis-related cases, differences that have impacted the protection of rights. Finally, it concludes with several identified gaps in the protection system that require more attention in order for economic, social and cultural rights to be protected effectively during economic crises.
Second semester University: Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań
economic rights, social rights, cultural rights, economic crisis, human rights violations, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union