Social Enterprise, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights came into force in 1976 and there are two articles of particular relevance for People-Centered Economic Development.

The frst relates to living wages

Article 7

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:

(a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

(i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

(ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;

(b) Safe and healthy working conditions;

(c) Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

(d ) Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays

The second to the rights of the family.

Article 10

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that:

1. The widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to the family, which is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, particularly for its establishment and while it is responsible for the care and education of dependent children. Marriage must be entered into with the free consent of the intending spouses.

2. Special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth. During such period working mothers should be accorded paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits.

3. Special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions. Children and young persons should be protected from economic and social exploitation. Their employment in work harmful to their morals or health or dangerous to life or likely to hamper their normal development should be punishable by law. States should also set age limits below which the paid employment of child labour should be prohibited and punishable by law.

In 2003,  P-CED founder Terry Hallman then living in a tent in Chapel Hill NC, began a fast for US government to ratify ICESCR and I became the communications linke between him and Senator John Edwards.  As a consequence Edwards opened the Center on Poverty Work and opportunity on the campus at UNC in Chapel Hill in 2005.

The P-CED business plan witten in 2004 proposed the development new businesses and jobs through social enterprise saying:

“The fundamental policy guide for P-CED is the International Bill of Human Rights. IBHR is comprised of Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant of Civil and Politial Rights, and International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. P-CED’s main focus falls within sphere the economic, social and cultural rights, ICESCR. In that the United States of America do not recognize those human rights and is the only industrialized country not to ratify ICESCR, P-CED operations are not yet compatible with underlying US policy and human rights commitments. In that sense, the US itself must be recommended as ‘not yet ready’, albeit for reasons quite dissimilar to those in Crimea. Thus the decision to first institute P-CED in Europe rather than the US. However, partnerships with US entities will be undertaken insofar as they advance the fulfilment of human rights where they are recognized across Europe under ICESCR. P-CED will also continue advocacy toward US ratification of ICESCR, and advocacy for economic rights in the US in particular. P-CED’s founder and first director is a member of the newly-formed US Human Rights Network.”

In 2009 Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, the President of the United Nations General Assembly offered this in a speech:

“The anti-values of greed, individualism and exclusion should be replaced by solidarity, common good and inclusion. The objective of our economic and social activity should not be the limitless, endless, mindless accumulation of wealth in a profit-centred economy but rather a people-centred economy that guarantees human needs, human rights, and human security, as well as conserves life on earth. These should be universal values that underpin our ethical and moral responsibility.”

So how does social enterprise weigh up againsts this covenant.

In 2004, when the business plan was offered to ICOF, the funding arm of the co-op movement and Social Enterprise London, both said they could not provide support.

In 2006. upon joining the Social Enterprise Coalition, now known as Social Enterprise UK, we were told that our work was outside their current focus.

In 2008 when introduced to the EU in the European Citizen Consultation in the ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine it was disregarded.  Key proposals from this paper would later appear in the EU Social Business Consultation and lead to Commissioner Michele Barnier being acked to acknowledge their misuse of our intellectual property.

After publication of the ‘Marshall Plan’ in 2007 our work was introduced repeatedly to the British Council, USAID and communicated to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

The primary objective of our work, removing children from institutions and placing them in loving family homes relates to article 10 of the ICESCR and the proposal for a national scale  social enterprise initiative  relates to article 7.

In 2010,  we would see The British Council begin a social enterprise intiative with USAID in Ukraine.  When partnerships with business were  invited, we applied intoducing our work and again were disregarded.  They took on Price Waterhouse Cooper and Erste Bank in preference.  Erste Bank, were introduced to our work in 2008, when they ran a Social Business ideas competition.

Without compensation for our work, founder Terry Hallman and I were denied a living wage and this would lead to Terry Hallman’s death in poverty through illness he could not afford to treat.  My illness and disability, aquired in the process of this work now limit my own opportunity for employment

It is however the plight of Ukraine’s children which should be of greater concern.  As I point out in my recent letter to Immigration Minister  Mark Harper,  by elbowing us out of the way, such that these children are airbrushed out of the picture, the British Government is offering more assistance to organised crime than social enterprise.

The British Council receives funding from the FCO and the Senate Committee  on Foreign Relations is in overall charge of USAID funding.  USAID have made their position clear, by rejecting our application for support. There is no budget  for ‘retarted children’, as they put it.

Government funding, both UK and US,  is assisting in the denial of article 10 of ICESCR in their social exploitation, as a cash cow for organised crime.

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