Demanding what is rightfully theirs. The link between social justice protests and economic, cultural, and social rights

Keywords: human rights, economic social and cultural rights, protest movements, redistribution, social justice


The right to peaceful assembly and association have been central to the notion of human rights since their very first iterations. A selection of key peaceful protest movements in the 21st century shows that the movements themselves are expressing demands that are in line with the human rights approach (Ortiz et al. 2022). Among the main findings is that over half of protest movements incorporate some economic or social justice demand (higher wages, jobs, housing, healthcare, pensions…). This article looks at protest movements that have demands that are linked to rights expressed by the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (United Nations 1966). Though protesters do not express their demands in the language of human rights, their demands for social justice are mostly already enshrined in the declaration. The author compares demands of economic justice to their counterpart in terms of rights, stressing the need for countries to reexamine their own policies considering these protests or potentially face escalating social unrest.

Received: 20 July 2022 
Accepted: 30 November 2022


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How to Cite
Berrada, Mohamed. 2022. “Demanding What Is Rightfully Theirs. The Link Between Social Justice Protests and Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights”. Deusto Journal of Human Rights, no. 10 (December), 55-75.