Goals and rights: Working together?

James Nickel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


When people who are familiar with international human rights read the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) they are likely to notice considerable overlap with human rights and wonder how the two concepts are related. All of the MDGs have at least some overlap with the requirements of international human rights. In these cases the objectives (what the goals aspire to achieve) of the MDGs are similar to the objects of the rights (what the rights are to). Most but not all of the overlap is with economic and social rights as found in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Overlap is also found with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). What a goal says about its objective is different, of course, from what a right says about its object – and I address those differences later. Table 2.1 shows some of the main areas where MDGs and international human rights overlap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights: Past, Present and Future
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781139410892, 9781107031913
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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