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New research by WISERD Co-Director, Professor Paul Chaney analyses civil society organisations’ perspectives on how the UK, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments are responding to their international human rights treaty obligations in the formulation and delivery of social policy.

This socio-legal study is the first that examines human rights and the territorialisation of social welfare in the four polities/ legal systems in a ‘devolved’ – or quasi-federal UK. It draws on the direct views of hundreds of civil society organisations. Its original contribution lies in:

1. revealing the nature of prevailing rights violations;

2. outlining the territorial narratives and contrasts between jurisdictions in the wake of devolution; and

3. showing how the systemic nature of rights violations can be conceptualised using the theory of public policy-making pathologies.

Among other things, the study reveals the negative human rights implications of Westminster’s inadequate funding of social policy in the context of contemporary social and economic crises; central government failure to adequately monitor/ enforce human rights practice; and inequalities and discrimination breaching Article 2 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Notably, the analysis also shows how, in the face of the Conservative and Unionist Party’s (Westminster) proposals to reform human rights law, the Welsh and Scottish governments exhibit a more progressive approach, including, through the incorporation of UN treaties into Welsh and Scottish social welfare legislation.

This research was undertaken as part of: ‘Trust, human rights and civil society within Mixed Economies of Welfare’, a core project in WISERD's current £6.4M ESRC-funded Civil Society Research programme.

This research will be published in Chaney, P. (2020 forthcoming), ‘Human Rights and Social Welfare Pathologies: Civil Society Perspectives on Contemporary Practice across UK Jurisdictions’, International Journal of Human Rights, Routledge T&F 


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