Inclusive Social Protection in Latin America

A Comprehensive, Rights-based Approach

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This publication examines the main debates under way on social protection and co-responsibility transfer programmes. It identifies the role played by these programmes and considers the conceptual elements, needs and the challenges that will have to be overcome to consolidate comprehensive social protection systems in Latin America. The authors argue that these should be solidarity-based systems that provide universal coverage and are essentially egalitarian in the guarantees established as citizens' rights. Citizenship as a whole is thus becoming part of protection policies as the region moves towards all-encompassing social policies that combine the complementary principles of targeting as the instrument and universality as the end.

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Social protection and economic, social and cultural rights

The minimum legal protection requirements that States are obliged to meet are defined by the international system of human rights and, in particular, standards relating to economic, social and cultural rights. These rights were first enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948), the direct predecessor of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1966. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Human Rights System of the Organization of American States (OAS) concluded the American Convention on Human Rights in 1969 and the Protocol of San Salvador in 1988. To date, eight countries in the region have also ratified the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), of the International Labour Organization (ILO). These instruments underline how important it is to adopt rights as a key element in the region’s social protection approach.

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