UN body to review States' efforts to protect economic, social, cultural rights

10 August 2001

A United Nations committee of experts will begin a two-week meeting in Geneva on Monday to examine the measures taken by seven countries - Senegal, Syria, Panama, Ukraine, Japan, Nepal and Germany - to protect economic, social and cultural rights on their territories.

The countries are among the 145 States parties to the 1976 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes the right to work, to form and join trade unions, to social security, to protection and assistance for the family, to an adequate standard of living, to health and to an education. In acceding to the treaty, States agree to submit periodic reports on how they give effect to the Covenant's provisions.

When Senegal presented its initial report to the Committee in December 1993, the experts expressed concern that the Government had not provided satisfactory information concerning measures to improve the enjoyment of the rights covered under the Covenant, particularly with respect to the situation of women, youth and other vulnerable groups.

In September 1991, the Committee said that Syria's report did not reflect the actual situation in the country regarding the Covenant's implementation. The structure of the Baath party, agrarian reform, housebuilding policy, trade unions, the right to strike, and legislation on marriage and divorce were also discussed.

On the housing situation in Panama, the experts received additional information from the Government in May 1994, and visited the country in April 1995. They expressed concern about the magnitude of the housing problem, and recommended that the Government accelerate studies being to establish a national social housing plan that took into account the needs of all communities.

After the presentation of the third periodic report of Ukraine in November 1995, the Committee said it was concerned about the sharp decline of purchasing power of the great majority of the population. It also recommended that the human rights instruments to which the country belonged be made fully applicable by its courts.

In November 1998, the Committee expressed concern about the status of the Covenant within the domestic legal system of Germany and at the lack of court decisions on the application of the Covenant. The Committee recommended that Germany provide more precise statistics and data regarding unemployment, the number and situation of poverty-stricken people, and social security recipients.

The initial report of Japan was considered by the Committee in 1984. The experts did not issue any conclusions or recommendations.

 

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