23 April 2001
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
Committee Will Consider Reports of Venezuela,
GENEVA, 20 April (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 23 April to 11 May 2001, to examine the measures taken by Venezuela, Honduras, China: Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Bolivia to realize those rights.
The five countries are among the 144 States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The treaty, which entered into force in 1976, recognizes, among other things, the rights to work, to form and join trade unions, to social security, to the widest possible protection and assistance for the family, to an adequate standard of living, to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, and to an education.
In acceding to the treaty, States agree to submit periodic reports to the Committee on how they give effect to the provisions of the Covenant. The panel, now in its twenty-fifth session, evaluates the reports and makes observations and recommendations on improving the promotion and protection of the rights enshrined in the Covenant.
In the case of long-overdue reports, the Committee may review the implementation of the treaty in a given country based on available information. At this session, the Committee will review the situation in Togo without a report.
At the opening of the session, the Committee will elect from among its members a chairperson, three vice-chairpersons and a rapporteur. It will then discuss other substantive issues arising in the implementation of the Covenant, an exercise during which it is scheduled to hear from non-governmental organizations.
On Monday, 7 May, the Committee will hold an international consultation on "Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Development Activities of International Institutions", organized in cooperation with the High Council for International Cooperation (France).
The Committee will also consider reports from specialized agencies of the United Nations system on the progress made in States parties in achieving the observance of the provisions of the Covenant falling within the scope of their activities. The following specialized agencies, United Nations organs and financial institutions have been invited to send representatives: International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Health Organization (WHO), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Committee’s Concluding Observations on Venezuela, Republic of Korea
When the sessional working group of government experts on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the initial report of Venezuela in April 1986, its Chairman said he was impressed by the increased participation of women in Latin America at all levels of society, a source of pride for all in the region. He was particularly struck by the increase in the total number of students at all levels in Venezuela: 40 per cent in nine years. In that connection, the developing countries faced a colossal challenge, much greater than the developed countries had had to confront in the past.
And after the Committee reviewed the initial report of the Republic of Korea in May 1995, it noted, with satisfaction, the significant and rapid economic growth during the past 30 years in the Republic of Korea, and that the considerable material progress achieved should lay the foundation for the enhanced enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. Among other measures, the Committee recommended that the Government immediately amend its laws and regulations concerning the freedom to form trade unions and the right to strike in order to bring them into compliance with the Covenant and with other applicable international standards. It also recommended that appropriate measures should be taken in order more effectively to guarantee the right to housing and, in particular, to ensure that no evictions are carried out without offers of alternative housing.
The General Assembly adopted and opened the Covenant for signature, ratification and accession in 1966. It entered into force on 3 January 1976.
Article 1 of the Covenant states that the right to self-determination is universal and calls upon States to promote the realization and respect of that right. Article 3 reaffirms the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all human rights and enjoins States to make that principle a reality. Article 5 provides safeguards against the destruction or undue limitation of any human right or fundamental freedom, and against misinterpretation of any provision of the Covenant as a means of justifying infringement of a right or freedom or its restriction to a greater extent than provided in the Covenant. It also prevents States from limiting rights already enjoyed within their territories on the ground that such rights are not recognized, or recognized to a lesser extent, in the Covenant.
Articles 6 to 15 recognize the right to work; to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work; to form and join trade unions; to social security, including social insurance; to the widest possible protection and assistance for the family, mothers, children and younger persons; to an adequate standard of living; to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; to an education and to take part in cultural life.
The Economic and Social Council established the Committee in 1985. Elected by the Economic and Social Council by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated by State parties to the Covenant, its 18 members are human rights experts serving in their personal capacity.
The Committee is composed of the following experts: Mahmoud Samir Ahmed (Egypt), Clement Atangana (Cameroon), Rocio Barahona Riera (Costa Rica), Virginia Bonoan-Dandan (Philippines), Dumitru Ceausu (Romania), Abdessatar Grissa (Tunisia), Paul Hunt (New Zealand), Valeri I. Kouznetsov ( Russian Federation), Giorgio Malinverni (Switzerland), Jaime Marchán Romero (Ecuador), Sergei Martynov (Belarus), Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay (Mauritius), Kenneth Osborne Rattray (Jamaica), Eibe Riedel (Germany), Walid M. Sa’di (Jordan), Philippe Texier (France), Nutan Thapalia (Nepal), and Javier Wimer Zambrano (Mexico).
States Parties to Covenant
The Covenant has been ratified or acceded to by 144 States: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
* *** *