ABSTRACT

The exercise of legal rights is limited by the extent to which individuals can direct their claims at some authority. Following the analysis of the core socio-economic rights in earlier chapters, this chapter interrogates the nature of human rights obligations. It examines states’ obligations under international and municipal laws, in comparative perspectives. It also examines the typology of obligations—to respect, protect, promote, and fulfil human rights—as developed by publicists and judicial bodies. The chapter also examines the concepts of ‘progressive realisation’ and ‘minimum core’, stressing that they are necessary to developing reasonable legislative and other measures towards realising socio-economic rights. It also examines the ‘good faith’ principle and the consequences of a breach of human rights obligations. In analysing the various sub-themes, the chapter appeals to comparative jurisprudence as well as general comments by some human rights treaty bodies, all of which aid states to understand and facilitate the discharge of their obligations under the various instruments.