This second issue of the ESR Review for 2015 includes three feature articles and an update. The first feature, by Matsiko Samuel, examines a hitherto unexplored but important issue: giving attention to socioeconomic rights during the transitional justice process. Samuel argues that transitional justice processes should give as much attention to people's socio-economic needs as they do to civil and political challenges. This becomes inevitable given the indivisible and interrelated nature of human rights. Citing the South African transitional justice process as an example, he observes that attention was given to violations of civil and political rights at the expense of equally important socioeconomic rights issues.
A conversation on the role of economic and social rights within the transitional justice paradigm is way overdue. Transitional justice, as defined by the United Nations, is the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society's attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses of human rights (UN, 2010:2). Determining what makes a society transitional is still a subject of academic debate and inquiry (Roht-Arriaza, 2006:1). However the political, social and historical realities can determine whether a society is ripe for transition.
The right of access to adequate housing is recognised as a basic human right under Section 26 of the South African Constitution (the Constitution). In the celebrated case of Government of the Republic of South Africa and Others v Grootboom and Others 2001 (1) SA 46 (CC), it was noted that the right to housing is about more than bricks and mortar: it includes people living in dignity, security and peace.
During its 54th Session, 23 February - 6 March 2015, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) adopted a Statement on Social Protection Floors, subtitled 'An essential element of the right to social security and of the sustainable development goals'.