252 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6The African Commission has held that “[d]enying people food and medicalattention [. . .] constitutes a violation of Article 4 [right to life]” 1035 aswell as of the right to health (Article 16 ACHPR). The African Commissionhas determined that the right to health includes a duty to protect citizensfrom adverse consequence of pollution, whether caused by Stateor private action, in addition to the duties of States under the right toa healthy environment (Article 24 ACHPR). 1036 The African Commissionhas also found that the “failure of the Government to provide basicservices such as safe drinking water and electricity and the shortageof medicine” 1037 constitutes a violation of the right to enjoy the bestattainable state of physical and mental health.3. Social SecurityThe right to social security is recognised by several international humanrights treaties and instruments. 1038 Under the CESCR, it includes “theright to access and maintain benefits, whether in cash or in kind, withoutdiscrimination in order to secure protection, inter alia, from (a) lackof work-related income caused by sickness, disability, maternity, employmentinjury, unemployment, old age, or death of a family member;(b) unaffordable access to health care; (c) insufficient family support,particularly for children and adult dependents.” 1039The CESCR has also defined the minimum core content of the right tosocial security. This includes:a) To ensure access to a social security scheme that provides a minimumessential level of benefits that will enable them to acquire atleast essential health care, basic shelter and housing, water andsanitation, foodstuffs, and the most basic forms of education;b) To ensure the right to access to social security systems or schemeson a non-discriminatory basis, especially for disadvantaged andmarginalised individuals and groups;c) To respect existing social security schemes and protect them fromunreasonable interference. 10401035 Malawi African Association and Others v. Mauritania, ACommHPR, op. cit., fn. 1006, paras.120 and 122.1036 SERAC and CESR v. Nigeria, ACommHPR, op. cit., fn. 29, paras. 52–53.1037 Free Legal Assistance Group and Others v. Zaire, ACommHPR, op. cit., fn. 892, para. 47.1038 Article 9 ICESCR; Article 5(e)(iv) ICERD; section III(f), Declaration concerning the aims andpurposes of the International Labour Organisation (Declaration of Philadephia), adopted on10 May 1944; Articles 22 and 25.1 UDHR; Articles 11.1(e) and 14.2(c) CEDAW; Article 26CRC; Article XVI ADRDM; Article 9, Protocol of San Salvador; Articles 12, 13 and 14 ESC(r).1039 CESCR, General Comment No. 19, op. cit., fn. 950, para. 2.1040 Ibid., para. 59.
MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 253a) Discrimination in social security and equal application tomigrantsThe duty to give immediate effect to obligations of non-discriminationalso applies in relation to social security. 1041 The CESCR has recommendedthat States should give special attention to the social securityneeds of refugees, asylum-seekers, and non-nationals 1042 and has unequivocallystated that “Article 2, paragraph 2, prohibits discriminationon grounds of nationality”. 1043 More precisely,“[w]here non-nationals, including migrant workers, have contributedto a social security scheme, they should be able to benefitfrom that contribution or retrieve their contributions if theyleave the country. A migrant worker’s entitlement should alsonot be affected by a change in workplace. Non-nationals shouldbe able to access non-contributory schemes for income support,affordable access to health care and family support. Any restrictions,including a qualification period, must be proportionate andreasonable. [. . .] Refugees, stateless persons and asylum-seekers,and other disadvantaged and marginalized individuals andgroups, should enjoy equal treatment in access to non-contributorysocial security schemes, including reasonable access tohealth care and family support, consistent with internationalstandards.” 1044The CERD has determined that making distinctions between the treatmentof nationals and non-nationals does not necessarily amount toimpermissible discrimination under CERD. The CERD found it sufficientthat access to social benefits did not discriminate among foreigners ofdifferent nationalities and treated all non-nationals on an equal footing,1041 Ibid., paras. 29–30, 40. See also, Concluding Observations on Azerbaijan, CESCR, UN Doc.E/C.12/1/Add.104, 14 December 2004, para. 48; Concluding Observations on China, CESCR,UN Doc. E/C.12/1/Add.107, 13 May 2005, paras. 96, 114 and 124; Concluding Observationson Austria, CESCR, UN Doc. E/C.12/AUT/CO/3, 25 January 2006, paras. 15 and 29(on equal amount of social benefits); Concluding Observations on Costa Rica, CESCR,UN Doc. E/C.12/CRI/CO/4, 4 December 2007, para. 21; Concluding Observations on Cyprus,CESCR, op. cit., fn. 784, para. 18; Concluding Observations on Australia, CESCR, UN Doc.E/C.12/AUS/CO/4, 12 June 2009, para. 20. See also, Concluding Observations on Canada,CERD, UN Doc. CERD/C/CAN/CO/18, 25 May 2007, para. 23 (including undocumented migrantsand non-removable failed asylum-seekers); Concluding Observations on Switzerland,CERD, UN Doc. CERD/C/CHE/CO/6, 23 September 2008, para. 17. See, Concluding Observationson Costa Rica, CEDAW, Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discriminationagainst Women to the General Assembly, 58 th Session, UN Doc. A/58/38 (2003), p. 86,para. 63 (for women migrant workers and migrant domestic workers in formal and informalsector); Concluding Observations on Lithuania, CRC, UN Doc. CRC/C/LTU/CO/2, 17 March 2006,paras. 62–63 (access to social welfare for children regardless of their migration status).1042 See, ibid., para. 31.1043 Ibid., para. 36.1044 Ibid., paras. 36–38. See also, Article 9, Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention(C143), ILO.