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Social rights and Chile's Constitutional moment

Social rights and Chile's Constitutional moment

Social rights and Chile's Constitutional moment


Global and local perspectives for the constitutional debate

At the global level, there is a link between the levels of inequality and those of protection of socio-economic and environmental rights: in general, the less protection of these rights, the greater the inequality tends to be, and vice versa. Citizen’s demands in Chile have focused for decades, on accessing these rights, including education, health, pensions and housing, which only worsened with the social outbreak and the disastrous impact of the pandemic.

Chile is experiencing a moment of hope and potential transformation that puts it in the global spotlight, as it is a historic opportunity to take socio-economic and environmental rights seriously in a participatory political process to leave no one behind.

We have, together with the Center for Human Rights at the University of Essex and the Environmental Law and Climate Change Program at the University of Concepci?n, seek to contribute new points of view and ideas to enrich the debate in the Constitutional Convention with arguments and proposals that strengthen the protection of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

We invited more than 50 experts from Chile and a varied number of countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Scotland, United States, England, Ireland and South Africa, who have written more than thirty essays that intend to contribute an international and comparative look at models of constitutional recognition of socio-economic and environmental rights, together with a plural analysis of the possible articulation of socio-economic and environmental rights in the Chilean legal framework.

Chapter one contextualizes the constituent process in Chile, framing the state of social rights both within Latin America and in post-dictatorship Chile, to then identify the eventual limits of the work of the Constituent Convention.

Chapter two explores the different tools that regional human rights systems use to guarantee social rights. Starting with an illustrative map of the ways in which ESCR can transform the ways in which constitutions structure the politics of a country, the first section traces the path that the inter-American system and the European system have gone through in recent years to protect them.

Chapter three delves into the importance and implications of incorporating economic, social, cultural and environmental rights into the Constitution, to advance the proposition of certain essential elements that the Chilean constituent process must keep in mind throughout its development. always with caution of the systemic nature of constitutions and the interdependence of human rights.

Chapter four pays attention to and delves into the situation of various groups that require special protection in the face of the real and substantive guarantee of social rights, making available to those who read, a series of elements, arguments and tools to include these groups within the discussion on social rights.

Chapter five presents the cases of the constituent processes of South Africa and Colombia, where social rights played a preponderant role in the constituent discussion. Lessons are drawn from both cases that demonstrate the importance of deliberating on rights at the constitutional level and the lessons learned in both processes, which can illuminate and facilitate the experience of the constituent process that Chile is going through.

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