1st Edition

International Human Rights Law and Destitution An Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Perspective

By Luke Graham Copyright 2023
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores destitution from the perspective of international human rights law and, more specifically, economic, social, and cultural rights.

    The experience of destitution correlates to the non-realisation of a range of economic, social, and cultural rights. However, destitution has not been defined from this perspective. Consequently, the nexus between destitution and the denial of economic, social, and cultural rights remains unrecognised within academia and policy and practice. This book expressly addresses this issue and in so doing renders the nexus between destitution and the non-realisation of these rights visible. The book proposes a new human rights-based definition of destitution, composed of two parts. The rights which must be realised (the component rights) and the level of realisation of these rights which must be met (the destitution threshold) to avoid destitution. This human rights-based understanding of destitution is then applied to a UK case study to highlight the relationship between government policy and destitution, to illustrate how destitution manifests itself, and to make recommendations – founded upon engendering the realisation of economic, social, and cultural rights – aimed towards addressing destitution.

    This book will have global and cross-sectoral appeal to anti-poverty advocates, policy makers, as well as to researchers, academics and students in the fields of human rights law, poverty studies, and social policy.

    Table of Cases

    Table of Legislation

    Table of Treaties


    Table of Abbreviations

    1 Conceptualising destitution

    2 The level of rights realisation required

    3 The rights required to avoid destitution

    4 Austerity: The context of rising destitution in the United Kingdom

    5 ESCRs and destitution in the UK

    6 Addressing destitution using ESCRs




    Luke D. Graham is a Lecturer in Public Law and Human Rights at the University of Manchester, UK. He holds a first-class LLB and an LLM in international human rights law with distinction. His work focuses on the relationship between human rights – in particular economic, social, and cultural rights – and poverty. More specifically, his PhD thesis, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), explored destitution. This continues to be an area of research interest and has also led him to explore the neglected right to adequate clothing. He has contributed to several edited collections and a range of specialist human rights journals, including the International Journal of Human Rights and the Journal of Human Rights Practice.