exercises due: calendar week 49 (first lesson of the week)

Thea has to remind me to check the homework. Don't forget it! My vengeance would be brutal.


  1. Extract the main ideas of M1.
  2. Comment on which of the groups of rights is the most important group in your opinion (at least half a page)
  3. Analyse in how far companies and cooperations have a connection with and a responsibility for human rights (M2)

M1: Categories of Human Rights


Over the years, many different categories concerning human rights have been established. One of the most common ist the distinction between civil, political and exonomic and social rights. The portal humanrights.is defines them like this (annotations are mine):


"Civil rights


The term ‘civil rights’ is often used with reference to the rights set out in the first eighteen articles of the UDHR, almost all of which are also set out as binding treaty norms (verbindende Vertragsnormen) in the ICCPR. From this group, a further set of ‘physical integrity rights’ (i.e. rights that secure that your body is not harmed) has been identified, which concern the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and which offer protection from physical violence against the person, torture and inhuman treatment, arbitrary (willkürlich) arrest, detention, exile, slavery and servitude (Leibeigenschaft), interference with one’s privacy and right of ownership, restriction of one’s freedom of movement, and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The difference between ‘basic rights’ and ‘physical integrity rights’ lies in the fact that the former include economic and social rights, but do not include rights such as protection of privacy and ownership.


Although not strictly an integrity right, the right to equal treatment and protection in law certainly qualifies as a civil right. Moreover, this right plays an essential role in the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.


Another group of civil rights is referred to under the collective term ‘due process rights’ (Rechte auf angemessene (Straf-)Prozesse). These pertain, among other things, to the right to a public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, the ‘presumption of innocence’, the ne bis in idem principle (freedom from double jeopardy) and legal assistance (see, e.g., Articles 9, 10, 14 and 15 ICCPR).


Political rights

In general, political rights are those set out in Articles 19 to 21 UDHR and also codified in the ICCPR. They include freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, the right to take part in the government of one’s country and the right to vote and stand for election at genuine periodic elections held by secret ballot (geheime Wahl) (see Articles 18, 19, 21, 22 and 25 ICCPR).


Economic and social rights


The economic and social rights are listed in Articles 22 to 26 UDHR, and further developed and set out as binding treaty norms in the ICESCR. These rights provide the conditions necessary for prosperity and wellbeing. Economic rights refer, for example, to the right to property, the right to work, which one freely chooses or accepts, the right to a fair wage, a reasonable limitation of working hours, and trade union rights. Social rights are those rights necessary for an adequate standard of living, including rights to health, shelter, food, social care, and the right to education (see Articles 6 to 14 ICESCR).


Cultural rights


The UDHR lists cultural rights in Articles 27 and 28: the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community, the right to share in scientific advancement and the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which one is the author (see also Article 15 ICESCR and Article 27 ICCPR).


The alleged dichotomy (angenommene Gegensätzlichkeit) between civil and political rights, and economic, social  and  cultural rights


Traditionally it has been argued that there are fundamental differences between economic, social and cultural rights, and civil and political rights. These two categories of rights have been seen as two different concepts and their differences have been characterised as a dichotomy. According to this view, civil and political rights are considered to be expressed in very precise language, imposing merely (lediglich) negative obligations which do not require resources for their implementation, and which therefore can be applied immediately. On the other hand, economic, social and cultural rights are considered to be expressed in vague terms, imposing only positive obligations conditional (abhängig) on the existence of resources and therefore involving a progressive realisation (schrittweise Verwirklichung)."


This dichotomy, however, has been questioned in the last couple of years as courts have ruled clearly in favour of people having these rights and being entitled to full execution of those rights.

(quote taken from: http://www.humanrights.is/en/human-rights-education-project/human-rights-concepts-ideas-and-fora/part-i-the-concept-of-human-rights/definitions-and-classifications)

M2: Human Rights and Companies/Cooperations