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Back | Programme Area: Special Events (2000 - 2009)

The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights: Special Panel Discussion

Date: 5 Sep 2012

  • Time: 16:00 - 18:00
  • Location: Silom Ballroom II & III, Holiday Inn Silom, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Counterpart(s): FORUM-ASIA

The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights: Special Panel Discussion
This special panel discussion, The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights, is jointly hosted by UNRISD and FORUM–ASIA. Held as part of the 5th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum, it is designed to facilitate a dialogue between the development and human rights communities on the role of social security in realizing human rights.

Social Security and Human Rights

As the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, progress on many of the goals remains patchy. Despite aggregate economic growth at the global level, more than half the world’s population still suffers from severe insecurity. It is estimated that about 70 to 80 per cent of the world’s population lives without access to meaningful cash benefits for ensuring a basic standard of living, and between 30 to 50 per cent of the population in developing countries lacks access to effective health services.

While progress has been made in codifying and realizing human rights in many national contexts, only a handful of countries have enshrined the right to social security in their constitutions. Too few policy initiatives and too little attention have been paid to this important facet of human rights, outlined clearly in various international declarations and conventions, including in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).

This special panel discussion will explore the relationship between social security and human rights with particular attention to:
  • how the right to social security is understood in different contexts;
  • the political, social and economic arrangements necessary for the realization of social, economic and cultural rights;
  • how neoliberal policies have impacted social security and human rights; and
  • how the development and human rights communities can strengthen cooperation.

The objective of this discussion is to enable academics, policy makers and practitioners working in the fields of development and human rights to cross normative disciplinary boundaries and contribute to laying the foundation for an alliance that works towards the development and the realization of human rights, including the right to development.


Rebecca Brown, Deputy Director, ESCR-Net

Armando De Negri Filho, MD, World Social Forum for Health and Social Security Executive Committee

Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association/ Executive Director, InformAction

Sabyte Paguio, Lead Facilitator, Network for Transformative Social Protection

Santosh Mehrotra, Director-General, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, Planning Commission, Government of India

Ilcheong Yi, Research Coordinator, UNRISD

Moderated by Jerald Joseph, Executive Director, Dignity International

The organizers:

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) was established in 1963 to create an independent, autonomous space within the United Nations system for policy-relevant research and dialogue on important social issues. The UNRISD mission is to generate knowledge and articulate policy alternatives on contemporary social development challenges and processes. Through its multidisciplinary research in collaboration with partners throughout the world, events and publications, the Institute works in support of policies and practices that reduce poverty and inequality, advance well-being and rights, and create more democratic and just societies.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a membership-based regional human rights organization that was founded in 1991 with a mission to work for the promotion and protection of all human rights, including the right to development, through collaboration and cooperation among human rights organizations and defenders in Asia. The establishment of FORUM–ASIA was a result of the increased solidarity and joint actions of human rights movements in Asia for which the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted in 1993 at the World Conference on Human Rights provided a strong platform.


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