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Neglect of Social and Economic Rights

Paul Farmer provides a compelling argument in his analysis of current efforts to pursue human rights through a legal framework. While civil rights are of vast importance, it is easy to neglect basic social and economic rights. He talks about Haiti and the abandonment of basic entitlements, such as food, medical care, and education while other human rights violations were being committed. “And although human rights groups were among those credited with helping to restore constitutional rule in Haiti, this was accomplished, to a large extent, by sacrificing the struggle for social and economic rights” (Farmer, 222). Its unfortunate that basic rights such as food and medical care can be sacrificed, implying that all human rights are not actually indivisible.


(Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU)

Farmer also provides another example—the “dirty war” in Argentina during 1976-1983, a source of major violence and violations of human rights. This website talks about the series of events in more detail, but essentially the government was responsible for the disappearance of suspected dissidents and subversives. The article talks about the restoration of basic civil liberties after the military regime in 1982, yet I find it interesting that the article fails to mention anything about the restoration of social or economic rights…


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