Article title Social Rights in the System of Fundamental Human Rights

Ph.D. in Law (Uzhgorod, Ukraine) ORCID ID:


Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 11/2019
Сторінки [272-280]

The topic under study is relevant due to several points: firstly, at the beginning of the XXI century, human rights receive a new understanding: they are not merely subjective rights, they imply the legal guarantees that an individual is protected from encroachments on the part of governmental authorities, as well as other individuals; secondly, the thesis according to which social rights are “secondary” as against the socalled classical (personal and political) rights, should be re-considered, since they require active behavior on the part of the State and it is difficult to protect them in court.

The purpose of the article is to explore the specifics of social human rights through the features ensuing from the content of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, and to justify their significance in the human rights system. They should be understood primarily in the context of international law in this area. Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights in its decisions explicitly states that the division of rights into personal, political, social or economic is conditional. In point of fact, human rights are a single system.

During the study, the author drew conclusions about the essence of social human rights. Adjustments are needed to the widespread position according to which civil and political rights require “negative” obligations of the State, and socio-economic rights – “positive” ones.

In modern conditions, this approach is being rethought in many aspects. Firstly, a number of social rights (e.g. freedom of labor, choice of occupation, prohibition of forced labor, right to professional associations, etc.) are, in fact, organic segments of fundamental values such as freedom and equality, which underlie the entire human rights system. Secondly, social rights, like other blocks of human rights, require the implementation of positive obligations of the State, which are based on the resources available to the State. Thirdly, only a few States (e.g. Hungary) have significantly limited the possibility of court protection of social rights at the level of the constitutional principle.


Keywords human rights; social rights; Convention for the Protection of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; European Court of Human Rights; case law



Authored books

1. Butt M E and Kiibert Ju and Schultz C A, Fundamental Social Rights in Europe (Working Paper SOCI 104 EN) (Directorate General for Research, European Parliament, 2000) <> (accessed: 05.10.2019) (in English).

2. Hetteš M, Ludské práva a sociálna ochrana v sociálnej práci (Vysoká škola zdravotníctva a sociálnej práce sv. Alžbety 2015) (in Slovak).

3. Verlanov S, Ekonomichni i sotsialni prava liudyny: yevropeiski standarty ta yikh vprovadzhennia v yurydychnu praktyku Ukrainy (zahalnoteoretychne doslidzhennia) [Economic and Social Human Rights: European Standards and Their Implementation in Ukraine’s Legal Practice (General Theoretical Study)] (Krai 2009) (in Ukrainian).


Journal articles

4. Lemak V, ‘Sotsialno-ekonomichni prava liudyny v konteksti verkhovenstva prava: vitchyznianyi dosvid zakriplennia ta zastosuvannia’ [‘Socio-Economic Human Rights in the Rule of Law Context: National Experience of Consolidation and Application’] (2010) 1 Visnyk Akademii pravovykh nauk Ukrainy 40-8 (in Ukrainian).

5. Varlamova N, ‘Vvedenie k Forumu “Konstitucionnyj status social’no-jekonomicheskih prav”’ [‘Introduction to the Forum “The Constitutional Status of Socio-Economic Rights”’] [2000] 1(30) Konstitucionnoe pravo: Vostochnoevropejskoe obozrenie 144-5 (in Russian).


Conference papers

6. Interparliamentary Conference on the European Social Charter. Turin Forum on Social Rights in Europe. Official speeches and interventions (17 and 18 March 2016, Turin, Italy) <> (accessed: 05.10.2019) (in English).