COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS TO HOLD THIRTY-NINTH SESSION FROM 5 TO 23 NOVEMBER 2007

Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights 1 November 2007
BACKGROUND RELEASE


Reports of Costa Rica, Ukraine, San Marino, Belgium and Paraguay to be Considered


The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 5 to 23 November 2007 to examine measures taken by Costa Rica, Ukraine, San Marino, Belgium and Paraguay to comply with the standards of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Those five countries are among the 157 States parties to the treaty, which entered into force in 1976 and which 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 adhering to the treaty, States agree to submit periodic reports to the Committee on how they give effect to the provisions of the Covenant. The Committee evaluates the reports and makes observations and recommendations on improving the promotion and protection of the rights enshrined in the Covenant.

At the opening of the session, the Committee will adopt its agenda and programme of work before discussing the organization of work and submission of reports by States parties. In the afternoon, the Committee will discuss its relations with United Nations organs and other treaty bodies, and hear information from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with respect to the reports that it will review during the current session.

During the session, the Committee will continue its consideration of a draft general comment on article 9 of the Covenant concerning the right to social security.

Paraguay is presenting its second and third combined periodic reports; Costa Rica is presenting its second to fourth combined reports; Belgium is presenting its third periodic report; San Marino is presenting its combined initial and second, third and fourth periodic reports; and Ukraine is presenting its fifth periodic report. The Committee's conclusions and recommendations on the initial report of Paraguay, which it reviewed on 30 April and 1 May 1996, are incorporated in document E/C.12/1/Add.1. Costa Rica's initial report was considered by the Committee on 4 and 7 December 1990, and the concluding observations on it can be found in document E/C.12/1990/8, paras. 159-195. The second periodic report of Belgium was examined by the Committee on 17 and 20 November 2000, and conclusions issued on it are contained in document E/C.12/1/Add.54. The Committee took up the fourth periodic report of Ukraine on 20 August 2001, and issued conclusions on it in document E/C.12/1/Add.65.


International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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.

States Parties to the Covenant

The Covenant has been ratified or acceded to by 157 States: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, 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, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, 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, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The Committee is composed of the following Experts: Mohamed Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim (Egypt), Clement Atangana (Cameroon), Rocío Barahona Riera (Costa Rica), Virginia Bonoan-Dandan (Philippines), Maria Virginia Bras Gomes (Portugal), Chandrashekhar Dasgupta (India); Azzouz Kerdoun (Algeria), Yuri Kolosov (Russian Federation), Jaime Marchan Romero (Ecuador), Sergei Martynov (Belarus), Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay (Mauritius), Eibe Riedel (Germany), Andrzej Rzeplinski (Poland), Walid M. Sa'di (Jordan), Philippe Texier (France), Alvaro Tirado Mejia (Colombia), Barbara Elaine Wilson (Switzerland), and Daode Zhan (China).

Mr. Texier is the Chairperson; Ms. Barahona Riera, Mr. Pillay and Mr. Sa'di are the Vice-Chairpersons; and Mr. Rzeplinski is the Rapporteur.

Provisional Timetable for Consideration of Reports

The main documents before the Committee in respect of these countries are accessible from the OHCHR website ( http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs39.htm), including the reports submitted by the States parties, lists of questions posed by the Committee in respect of those reports, and supplementary information submitted by non-governmental organizations At the end of the session, the concluding observations of the Committee on each State party will also be accessible in advanced unedited form from this site


Tuesday, 6 November

Morning: Costa Rica, second to fourth periodic reports (E/C.12/CRI/4)
Afternoon: Costa Rica (continued)


Wednesday, 7 November

Morning: Costa Rica (continued)
Afternoon: Ukraine, fifth periodic report (E/C.12/UKR/5)


Thursday, 8 November

Morning: Ukraine (continued)
Afternoon: Ukraine (continued)


Friday, 9 November

Morning: San Marino, initial and second to fourth periodic reports (E/C.12/SMR/4)
Afternoon: San Marino (continued)


Monday, 12 November

Morning: Belgium, third periodic report (E/C.12/BEL/3)
Afternoon: Belgium (continued)


Tuesday, 13 November

Morning: Belgium (continued)
Afternoon: Paraguay, second and third periodic reports (E/C.12/PRY/3)


Wednesday, 14 November

Morning: Paraguay (continued)
Afternoon: Paraguay (continued)


Friday, 23 November

Afternoon: Release of Concluding Observations and close of session

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