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Abstract

Economic and social rights have long been treated as a subordinate category of rights in countries around the world. In comparison to civil and political rights, their justiciability and enforceability is less certain. While much scholarship over the years has advocated the equal importance of all human rights, remnants of the earlier differences still remain. At the same time, around the world, treaties are not well enforced domestically, and states continually overlook their international obligations. However, to some degree, international legal scholarship still stresses the need for more binding international norms, or “soft law,” to increase state accountability under international legal regimes. This thesis questions both (1) the need to categorize rights and (2) the requirement of treaty ratification in the enforcement of international law, ultimately suggesting an additional avenue for shaping and enforcing international law: national courts and their remedial practices.

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