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Part VI Refugee Rights and Realities, Ch.53 The Right to Work

Cathryn Costello, Colm O’Cinnéide

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law

Edited By: Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster, Jane McAdam

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 10 December 2023

Right to work — Asylum — Refugees

This chapter analyses the application of the right to work to asylum seekers and refugees, examining the right under international human rights law of global scope, in particular under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. While that instrument is often perceived as being normatively weak, due in part to a misunderstanding about the ‘progressive realization’ standard, the chapter highlights States’ immediate ‘minimum core’ obligations under the right to work. It also assesses the right under African, Inter-American, and European regional human rights mechanisms. Some deprivations of the right to work may entail breaches of regional treaties, directly or indirectly. Restrictions on the right to work may also contribute to violations of absolute rights, such as the prohibitions on inhuman and degrading treatment, or forced labour. The chapter then looks at two possible means of securing the right to work, namely domestic litigation and transnational political processes.

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