Bolstering the protection of economic, social and cultural rights under the Malawian Constitution
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The Malawian Constitution protects a handful of socio-economic rights in the Bill of Rights and enshrines the rest as part of directive principles of national policy. The only socio-economic rights expressly protected in the Bill of Rights are the right to education; the right to participate in cultural life of one's choice; the right to engage freely in economic activity, to work and pursue a livelihood; and the right to development. Socio-economic rights are thus not given the same level of protection as civil and political rights. Yet the Malawi Law Commission (Commission) in its current review of the Constitution has not identified these rights as a point of focus. The attitude of the Commission reflects the ideological position that regards socio-economic rights as incapable of judicial enforcement and as being inferior to civil and political rights. This article outlines the theoretical basis for including socio-economic rights as justiciable protections within the Malawian Constitution.