The department is charged with the development of standards for the implementation of policies for the progressive realization of the economic and social rights and ensures integration of international treaties and conventions into national laws and policies. Department seeks to enhance the respect, protection and realization of economic and social rights for all. The department derives its programmatic activities from the NGEC Act at Sec. 8 (c) and (g).
In Kenya, the enjoyment of economic and social rights including access to basic social services such as health, education, employment, social security, and housing has not been fully realized. Marginalized groups such as women, children, persons with disability, the poor and minorities and indigenous groups have particularly been excluded from accessing these rights. Some of these rights as enumerated in Art. 43 include;
- Highest attainable standards of health
- Accessible and adequate housing
- Adequate food of acceptable quality- be free from hunger
- Clean and safe water
- Social security and,
- Audit and monitor compliance with national, regional and international commitments of principles of gender equality and freedom from discrimination including realization of ECOSOC rights particularly for special interest groups (SIGs) including minorities and marginalized persons, women and persons with disabilities and children.
- Conducts annual reviews of State compliance with national, regional and international commitments of principal of gender equality and freedom from discrimination including the realization of ECOSOC rights among SIGs.
- Providing advisories to all sectors and institutions on mechanisms of substantive mainstreaming of SIGs issues in development.
- Work with other relevant institutions in the development of standards for the implementation of policies for the progressive realization of the economic and social rights with the view of making recommendations for the improvement of the functioning of the institutions concerned.
Since inception of the Commission, the Department has developed the following standards;
- Standard for the implementation of policies for the progressive realization of the right to Health
- Conducted an Audit of the implementation of Presidential Directive on Free Maternity Services in Public Health facilities
The department has made valuable contributions to the periodic reports of the following International Conventions;
- The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 5-7th periodic reports of Kenya
- The International Convention Against Torture, 3rd Periodic Report of Kenya
- 8th Periodic Report of the Government of the Republic of Kenya on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 8th Periodic Report of Kenya
- 4th National Periodic Report submitted in accordance with Article 40 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights
- Report under Article 22 of the International Labour Organization Constitution, Discrimination in Employment and Occupation Convention, 2016.