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Part I The Human Rights Mandate of the Principal Organs, 3 The Economic and Social Council

Frédéric Mégret

From: The United Nations and Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Frédéric Mégret, Philip Alston

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 09 May 2021

Subject(s):
Human rights

This chapter looks at the Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) role in promoting human rights. The ECOSOC, whose origins lie in ambitious proposals drawn up in 1939 within the League of Nations for a ‘Central Committee for Economic and Social questions’, was supposed to be the central piece of that machinery, one that would work for the purpose of achieving ‘international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character’. Yet, ECOSOC has never been as central a body in the United Nations as one might have expected it to be. In every proposal for reform, it is one of the prime candidates for significant change or even elimination. The chapter suggests that this has significantly hampered its potential contribution to human rights over the years.

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