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International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
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Parties and signatories to the ICESCR:
  signed and ratified
  signed but not ratified
  neither signed nor ratified
Type United Nations General Assembly resolution
Drafted 1954
Signed 16 December 1966 [1]
Location United Nations Headquarters, New York
Effective 3 January 1976 [1]
Signatories 70
Parties 162
Depositary Secretary-General of the United Nations
Citations Works related to United Nations Trusteeship Agreements listed by the General Assembly as Non-Self-Governing at Wikisource
Languages French, English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic [2]
Wikisource
ECOSOC Resolution 2007/25: Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (26 July 2007)

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966, and in force from 3 January 1976.[1] It commits its parties to work toward the granting of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) to the Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories and individuals, including labour rights and the right to health, the right to education, and the right to an adequate standard of living. As of 2014, the Covenant had 162 parties.[3] A further seven countries, including the United States of America, had signed but not yet ratified the Covenant.

The ICESCR is part of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,[4] International Bill of Human Rights, along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),[5] including the latter's first and second Optional Protocols.[6]

The Covenant is monitored by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[7]

Genesis[edit]

The ICESCR has its roots in the same process that led to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[8] A "Declaration on the Essential Rights of Man" had been proposed at the 1945 San Francisco Conference which led to the founding of the United Nations, and the Economic and Social Council was given the task of drafting it.[6] Early on in the process, the document was split into a declaration setting forth general principles of human rights, and a convention or covenant containing binding commitments. The former evolved into the UDHR and was adopted on 10 December 1948.[6]

Drafting continued on the convention, but there remained significant differences between UN members on the relative importance of negative civil and political versus positive economic, social and cultural rights.[9] These eventually caused the convention to be split into two separate covenants, "one to contain civil and political rights and the other to contain economic, social and cultural rights."[10] The two covenants were to contain as many similar provisions as possible, and be opened for signature simultaneously.[10] Each would also contain an article on the right of all peoples to self-determination.[11]

The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.[12]

The first document became the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the second the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The drafts were presented to the UN General Assembly for discussion in 1954, and adopted in 1966.[13]

Summary[edit]

The Covenant follows the structure of the UDHR and ICCPR, with a preamble and thirty-one articles, divided into five parts.[14]

Part 1 (Article 1) recognises the right of all peoples to self-determination, including the right to "freely determine their political status",[15] pursue their economic, social and cultural goals, and manage and dispose of their own resources. It recognises a negative right of a people not to be deprived of its means of subsistence,[16] and imposes an obligation on those parties still responsible for non-self governing and trust territories (colonies) to encourage and respect their self-determination.[17]

Part 2 (Articles 2 – 5) establishes the principle of "progressive realisation" – see below. It also requires the rights be recognised "without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status".[18] The rights can only be limited by law, in a manner compatible with the nature of the rights, and only for the purpose of "promoting the general welfare in a democratic society".[19]

Part 3 (Articles 6 – 15) lists the rights themselves. These include rights to

  • work, under "just and favourable conditions",[20] with the right to form and join trade unions (Articles 6, 7, and 8);
  • social security, including social insurance (Article 9);
  • family life, including paid parental leave and the protection of children (Article 10);
  • an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the "continuous improvement of living conditions" (Article 11);
  • health, specifically "the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health" (Article 12);
  • education, including free universal primary education, generally available secondary education and equally accessible higher education. This should be directed to "the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity",[21] and enable all persons to participate effectively in society (Articles 13 and 14);
  • participation in cultural life (Article 15).

Many of these rights include specific actions which must be undertaken to realise them.

Part 4 (Articles 16 – 25) governs reporting and monitoring of the Covenant and the steps taken by the parties to implement it. It also allows the monitoring body – originally the United Nations Economic and Social Council – now the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – see below – to make general recommendations to the UN General Assembly on appropriate measures to realise the rights (Article 21)

Part 5 (Articles 26 – 31) governs ratification, entry into force, and amendment of the Covenant.

Core provisions[edit]

Principle of progressive realisation[edit]

Article 2 of the Covenant imposes a duty on all parties to

take steps... to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.[22]

This is known as the principle of "progressive realisation". It acknowledges that some of the rights (for example, the right to health) may be difficult in practice to achieve in a short period of time, and that states may be subject to resource constraints, but requires them to act as best they can within their means.

The principle differs from that of the ICCPR, which obliges parties to "respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction" the rights in that Convention.[23] However, it does not render the Covenant meaningless. The requirement to "take steps" imposes a continuing obligation to work towards the realisation of the rights.[24] It also rules out deliberately regressive measures which impede that goal. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also interprets the principle as imposing minimum core obligations to provide, at the least, minimum essential levels of each of the rights.[25] If resources are highly constrained, this should include the use of targeted programmes aimed at the vulnerable.[26]

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regards legislation as an indispensable means for realising the rights which is unlikely to be limited by resource constraints. The enacting of anti-discrimination provisions and the establishment of enforceable rights with judicial remedies within national legal systems are considered to be appropriate means. Some provisions, such as anti-discrimination laws, are already required under other human rights instruments, such as the ICCPR.[27]

Labor rights[edit]

Main article: Labor rights

Article 6 of the Covenant recognises the right to work, defined as the opportunity of everyone to gain their living by freely chosen or accepted work.[28] Parties are required to take "appropriate steps" to safeguard this right, including technical and vocational training and economic policies aimed at steady economic development and ultimately full employment. The right implies parties must guarantee equal access to employment and protect workers from being unfairly deprived of employment. They must prevent discrimination in the workplace and ensure access for the disadvantaged.[29] The fact that work must be freely chosen or accepted means parties must prohibit forced or child labor.[30]

The work referred to in Article 6 must be decent work.[31] This is effectively defined by Article 7 of the Covenant, which recognises the right of everyone to "just and favourable" working conditions. These are in turn defined as fair wages with equal pay for equal work, sufficient to provide a decent living for workers and their dependants; safe working conditions; equal opportunity in the workplace; and sufficient rest and leisure, including limited working hours and regular, paid holidays.

Article 8 recognises the right of workers to form or join trade unions and protects the right to strike. It allows these rights to be restricted for members of the armed forces, police, or government administrators. Several parties have placed reservations on this clause, allowing it to be interpreted in a manner consistent with their constitutions (e.g., China, Mexico), or extending the restriction of union rights to groups such as firefighters (e.g., Japan).[3]

Right to social security[edit]

Main article: Social security

Article 9 of the Covenant recognizes "the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance".[32] It requires parties to provide some form of social insurance scheme to protect people against the risks of sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment or old age; to provide for survivors, orphans, and those who cannot afford health care; and to ensure that families are adequately supported. Benefits from such a scheme must be adequate, accessible to all, and provided without discrimination.[33] The Covenant does not restrict the form of the scheme, and both contributory and non-contributory schemes are permissible (as are community-based and mutual schemes).[34]

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has noted persistent problems with the implementation of this right, with very low levels of access.[35]

Several parties, including France and Monaco, have reservations allowing them to set residence requirements in order to qualify for social benefits. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights permits such restrictions, provided they are proportionate and reasonable.[36]

Right to family life[edit]

Article 10 of the Covenant recognises the family as "the natural and fundamental group unit of society", and requires parties to accord it "the widest possible protection and assistance".[37] Parties must ensure that their citizens are free to establish families and that marriages are freely contracted and not forced.[38] Parties must also provide paid leave or adequate social security to mothers before and after childbirth, an obligation which overlaps with that of Article 9. Finally, parties must take "special measures" to protect children from economic or social exploitation, including setting a minimum age of employment and barring children from dangerous and harmful occupations.[39]

Right to an adequate standard of living[edit]

Article 11 recognises the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living. This includes, but is not limited to, the right to adequate food, clothing, housing, and "the continuous improvement of living conditions".[40] It also creates an obligation on parties to work together to eliminate world hunger.

The right to adequate food, also referred to as the right to food, is interpreted as requiring "the availability of food in a quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals, free from adverse substances, and acceptable within a given culture".[41] This must be accessible to all, implying an obligation to provide special programmes for the vulnerable.[42] This must also ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need, taking into account the problems of food-importing and food-exporting countries.[43] The right to adequate food also implies a right to water.[44]

The right to adequate housing, also referred to as the right to housing, is "the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity".[45] It requires "adequate privacy, adequate space, adequate security, adequate lighting and ventilation, adequate basic infrastructure and adequate location with regard to work and basic facilities – all at a reasonable cost".[45] Parties must ensure security of tenure and that access is free of discrimination, and progressively work to eliminate homelessness. Forced evictions, defined as "the permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection", are a prima facie violation of the Covenant.[46]

The right to adequate clothing, also referred to as the right to clothing, has not been authoritatively defined and has received little in the way of academic commentary or international discussion. What is considered "adequate" has only been discussed in specific contexts, such as refugees, the disabled, the elderly, or workers.[47]

Right to health[edit]

Main article: Right to health

Article 12 of the Covenant recognises the right of everyone to "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health".[48] "Health" is understood not just as a right to be healthy, but as a right to control ones own health and body (including reproduction), and be free from interference such as torture or medical experimentation.[49] States must protect this right by ensuring that everyone within their jurisdiction has access to the underlying determinants of health, such as clean water, sanitation, food, nutrition and housing, and through a comprehensive system of healthcare, which is available to everyone without discrimination, and economically accessible to all.[50]

Article 12.2 requires parties to take specific steps to improve the health of their citizens, including reducing infant mortality and improving child health, improving environmental and workplace health, preventing, controlling and treating epidemic diseases, and creating conditions to ensure equal and timely access to medical services for all. These are considered to be "illustrative, non-exhaustive examples", rather than a complete statement of parties' obligations.[51]

The right to health is interpreted as requiring parties to respect women's' reproductive rights, by not limiting access to contraception or "censoring, withholding or intentionally misrepresenting" information about sexual health.[52] They must also ensure that women are protected from harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation.[53]

Right to health is inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition and housing, healthy occupational and environmental conditions.[54]

Right to free education[edit]

Main article: Right to education

Article 13 of the Covenant recognises the right of everyone to free education (free for the primary level and "the progressive introduction of free education" for the secondary and higher levels). This is to be directed towards "the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity",[21] and enable all persons to participate effectively in society. Education is seen both as a human right and as "an indispensable means of realizing other human rights", and so this is one of the longest and most important articles of the Covenant.[55]

Article 13.2 lists a number of specific steps parties are required to pursue to realise the right of education. These include the provision of free, universal and compulsory primary education, "generally available and accessible" secondary education in various forms (including technical and vocational training), and equally accessible higher education. All of these must be available to all without discrimination. Parties must also develop a school system (though it may be public, private, or mixed), encourage or provide scholarships for disadvantaged groups. Parties are required to make education free at all levels, either immediately or progressively; "[p]rimary education shall be compulsory and available free to all"; secondary education "shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education"; and "[h]igher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education".

Articles 13.3 and 13.4 require parties to respect the educational freedom of parents by allowing them to choose and establish private educational institutions for their children, also referred to as freedom of education. It also recognises the right of parents to "ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions".[56] This is interpreted as requiring public schools to respect the freedom of religion and conscience of their students, and as forbidding instruction in a particular religion or belief system unless non-discriminatory exemptions and alternatives are available.[57]

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights interpret the Covenant as also requiring states to respect the academic freedom of staff and students, as this is vital for the educational process.[58] It also considers corporal punishment in schools to be inconsistent with the Covenant's underlying principle of the dignity of the individual.[59]

Article 14 of the Covenant requires those parties which have not yet established a system of free compulsory primary education, to rapidly adopt a detailed plan of action for its introduction "within a reasonable number of years".[60]

Right to participation in cultural life[edit]

Main article: Right to development

Article 15 of the Covenant recognises the right of everyone to participate in cultural life, enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, and to benefit from the protection of the moral and material rights to any scientific discovery or artistic work they have created. The latter clause is sometimes seen as requiring the protection of intellectual property, but the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights interprets it as primarily protecting the moral rights of authors and "proclaim[ing] the intrinsically personal character of every creation of the human mind and the ensuing durable link between creators and their creations".[61] It thus requires parties to respect the right of authors to be recognised as the creator of a work. The material rights are interpreted as being part of the right to an adequate standard of living, and "need not extend over the entire lifespan of an author."[62]

Parties must also work to promote the conservation, development and diffusion of science and culture, "respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity",[63] and encourage international contacts and cooperation in these fields.

Reservations[edit]

A number of parties have made reservations and interpretative declarations to their application of the Covenant.

Algeria interprets parts of Article 13, protecting the liberty of parents to freely choose or establish suitable educational institutions, so as not to "impair its right freely to organize its educational system."[3]

Bangladesh interprets the self-determination clause in Article 1 as applying in the historical context of colonialism. It also reserves the right to interpret the labour rights in Articles 7 and 8 and the non-discrimination clauses of Articles 2 and 3 within the context of its constitution and domestic law.[3]

Belgium interprets non-discrimination as to national origin as "not necessarily implying an obligation on States automatically to guarantee to foreigners the same rights as to their nationals. The term should be understood to refer to the elimination of any arbitrary behaviour but not of differences in treatment based on objective and reasonable considerations, in conformity with the principles prevailing in democratic societies."[3]

China restricts labour rights in Article 8 in a manner consistent with its constitution and domestic law.[3]

Egypt accepts the Covenant only to the extent it does not conflict with Islamic Sharia law. Sharia is "a primary source of legislation" under Article 2 of both the suspended 1973 Constitution and the 2011 Provisional Constitutional Declaration.[3]

France views the Covenant as subservient to the UN Charter. It also reserves the right to govern the access of aliens to employment, social security, and other benefits.[3]

India interprets the right of self-determination as applying "only to the peoples under foreign domination"[3] and not to apply to peoples within sovereign nation-states. It also interprets the limitation of rights clause and the rights of equal opportunity in the workplace within the context of its constitution.[3]

Indonesia interprets the self-determination clause (Article 1) within the context of other international law and as not applying to peoples within a sovereign nation-state.[3]

Ireland reserves the right to promote the Irish language.[3]

Japan reserved the right not to be bound to progressively introduce free secondary and higher education, the right to strike for public servant and the remuneration on public holidays.[3]

Kuwait interprets the non-discrimination clauses of Articles 2 and 3 within its constitution and laws, and reserves the right to social security to apply only to Kuwaitis. It also reserves the right to forbid strikes.[3]

Mexico restricts the labour rights in Article 8 within the context of its constitution and laws.[3]

Monaco interprets the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of national origin as "not necessarily implying an automatic obligation on the part of States to guarantee foreigners the same rights as their nationals",[3] and reserves the right to set residence requirements on the rights to work, health, education, and social security.

New Zealand reserved the right not to apply Article 8 (the right to form and join trade unions) insofar as existing measures (which at the time included compulsory unionism and encouraged arbitration of disputes) were incompatible with it.[3]

Norway reserves the right to strike so as to allow for compulsory arbitration of some labour disputes.[3]

Pakistan has a general reservation to interpret the Covenant within the framework of its constitution.[3]

Thailand interprets the right to self-determination within the framework of other international law.[3]

Trinidad and Tobago reserves the right to restrict the right to strike of those engaged in essential occupations.

Turkey will implement the Covenant subject to the UN Charter. It also reserves the right to interpret and implement the right of parents to choose and establish educational institutions in a manner compatible with its constitution.[3]

United Kingdom views the Covenant as subservient to the UN Charter. It made several reservations regarding its overseas territories.[3]

United StatesAmnesty International writes that "The United States signed the Covenant in 1979 under the Carter administration but is not fully bound by it until it is ratified. For political reasons, the Carter administration did not push for the necessary review of the Covenant by the Senate, which must give its 'advice and consent' before the US can ratify a treaty. The Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations took the view that economic, social, and cultural rights were not really rights but merely desirable social goals and therefore should not be the object of binding treaties. The Clinton Administration did not deny the nature of these rights but did not find it politically expedient to engage in a battle with Congress over the Covenant. The George W. Bush administration followed in line with the view of the previous Bush administration."[64] The Obama Administration stated "The Administration does not seek action at this time" on the Covenant.[65] The Heritage Foundation, a critical conservative think tank, argues that signing it would obligate the introduction of policies that it opposes such as universal health care.[66]

Optional Protocol[edit]

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a side-agreement to the Covenant which allows its parties to recognise the competence of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights to consider complaints from individuals.[67]

The Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 2008.[68] It was opened for signature on 24 September 2009,[69] and as of February 2013 has been signed by 40 parties and ratified by 10.[70] Having passed the threshold of required ratifications it has entered into force on 5 May 2013.[71]

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[edit]

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a body of human rights experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Covenant. It consists of 18 independent human rights experts, elected for four-year terms, with half the members elected every two years.[72]

Unlike other human rights monitoring bodies, the Committee was not established by the treaty it oversees. Rather, it was established by the Economic and Social Council following the failure of two previous monitoring bodies.[38]

All states parties are required to submit regular reports to the Committee outlining the legislative, judicial, policy and other measures they have taken to implement the rights affirmed in the Covenant. The first report is due within two years of ratifying the Covenant; thereafter reports are due every five years.[73] The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.

The Committee typically meets every May and November in Geneva.[74]

Parties to the covenant[edit]

State Date signed Date ratified, acceded or succeeded Notes
Afghanistan 24 Jan 1983
Albania 4 Oct 1991
Algeria 10 Dec 1968 12 Sep 1989
Angola 10 Jan 1992
Argentina 19 Feb 1968 8 Aug 1986
Armenia 13 Sep 1993
Australia 18 Dec 1972 10 Dec 1975
Austria 10 Dec 1973 10 Sep 1978
Azerbaijan 13 Aug 1992
Bahamas 4 Dec 2008 23 Dec 2008
Bahrain 27 Sep 2007
Bangladesh 5 Oct 1998
Barbados 5 Jan 1973
Belarus 19 Mar 1968 12 Nov 1973 Signed and ratified as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Belgium 10 Dec 1968 21 Apr 1983
Belize 6 Sep 2000
Benin 12 Mar 1992
Plurinational State of Bolivia 12 Aug 1982
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 Sep 1993 The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971.
Brazil 24 Jan 1992
Bulgaria 8 Oct 1968 21 Sep 1970
Burkina Faso 4 Jan 1999
Burundi 9 May 1990
Cambodia 17 Oct 1980 26 May 1992 Democratic Kampuchea had signed the Covenant on 17 October 1980
Cameroon 27 Jun 1984
Canada 19 May 1976
Cape Verde 6 Aug 1993
Central African Republic 8 May 1981
Chad 9 Jun 1995
Chile 16 Sep 1969 10 Feb 1972
China 27 Oct 1997 27 Mar 2001 The Republic of China had signed on 5 October 1967
Colombia 21 Dec 1966 29 Oct 1969
Comoros 25 Sep 2008
Congo 5 Oct 1983
Costa Rica 19 Dec 1966 29 Nov 1968
Côte d'Ivoire 26 Mar 1992
Croatia 12 Oct 1992 The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971.
Cuba 28 Feb 2008
Cyprus 9 Jan 1967 2 Apr 1969
Czech Republic 22 Feb 1993 Czechoslovakia had signed the Covenant on 7 October 1968 and ratified it on 23 December 1975.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea 14 Sep 1981
Democratic Republic of the Congo 1 Nov 1976
Denmark 20 Mar 1968 6 Jan 1972
Djibouti 5 Nov 2002
Dominica 17 Jun 1993
Dominican Republic 4 Jan 1978
Ecuador 29 Sep 1967 6 Mar 1969
Egypt 4 Aug 1967 14 Jan 1982
El Salvador 21 Sep 1967 30 Nov 1979
Equatorial Guinea 25 Sep 1987
Eritrea 17 Apr 2001
Estonia 21 Oct 1991
Ethiopia 11 Jun 1993
Finland 11 Oct 1967 19 Aug 1975
France 4 Nov 1980
Gabon 21 Jan 1983
Gambia 29 Dec 1978
Georgia 3 May 1994
Germany 9 Oct 1968 17 Dec 1973 The German Democratic Republic had signed and ratified the Convention with reservations on 27 March 1973 and 8 November 1973
Ghana 7 Sep 2000 7 Sep 2000
Greece 16 May 1985
Grenada 6 Sep 1991
Guatemala 19 May 1988
Guinea 28 Feb 1967 24 Jan 1978
Guinea-Bissau 2 Jul 1992
Guyana 22 Aug 1968 15 Feb 1977
Haiti 8 Oct 2013
Honduras 19 Dec 1966 17 Feb 1981
Hungary 25 Mar 1969 17 Jan 1974
Iceland 30 Dec 1968 22 Aug 1979
India 10 Apr 1979
Indonesia 23 Feb 2006
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 4 Apr 1968 24 Jun 1975
Iraq 18 Feb 1969 25 Jan 1971
Ireland 1 Oct 1973 8 Dec 1989
Israel 19 Dec 1966 3 Oct 1991
Italy 18 Jan 1967 15 Sep 1978
Jamaica 19 Dec 1966 3 Oct 1975
Japan 30 May 1978 21 Jun 1979
Jordan 30 Jun 1972 28 May 1975
Kazakhstan 2 Dec 2003 24 Jan 2006
Kenya 1 May 1972
Kuwait 21 May 1996
Kyrgyzstan 7 Oct 1994
Lao People's Democratic Republic 7 Dec 2000 13 Feb 2007
Latvia 14 Apr 1992
Lebanon 3 Nov 1972
Lesotho 9 Sep 1992
Liberia 18 Apr 1967 22 Sep 2004
Libya 15 May 1970
Liechtenstein 10 Dec 1998
Lithuania 20 Nov 1991
Luxembourg 26 Nov 1974 18 Aug 1983
Madagascar 14 Apr 1970 22 Sep 1971
Malawi 22 Dec 1993
Maldives 19 Sep 2006
Mali 16 Jul 1974
Malta 22 Oct 1968 13 Sep 1990
Mauritania 17 Nov 2004
Mauritius 12 Dec 1973
Mexico 23 Mar 1981
Monaco 26 Jun 1997 28 Aug 1997
Mongolia 5 Jun 1968 18 Nov 1974
Montenegro 23 Oct 2006
Morocco 19 Jan 1977 3 May 1979
Namibia 28 Nov 1994
Nepal 14 May 1991
Netherlands 25 Jun 1969 11 Dec 1978
New Zealand 12 Nov 1968 28 Dec 1978
Nicaragua 12 Mar 1980
Niger 7 Mar 1986
Nigeria 29 Jul 1993
Norway 20 Mar 1968 13 Sep 1972
Pakistan 3 Nov 2004 17 Apr 2008
Palau 20 Sep 2011
State of Palestine 2 Apr 2014
Panama 27 Jul 1976 8 Mar 1977
Papua New Guinea 21 Jul 2008
Paraguay 10 Jun 1992
Peru 11 Aug 1977 28 Apr 1978
Philippines 19 Dec 1966 7 Jun 1974
Poland 2 Mar 1967 18 Mar 1977
Portugal 7 Oct 1976 31 Jul 1978
Republic of Korea 10 Apr 1990
Republic of Moldova 26 Jan 1993
Romania 27 Jun 1968 9 Dec 1974
Russian Federation 18 Mar 1968 16 Oct 1973 Signed and ratified as the Soviet Union.
Rwanda 16 Apr 1975
San Marino 18 Oct 1985
Sao Tome and Principe 31 Oct 1995
Senegal 6 Jul 1970 13 Feb 1978
Serbia 12 Mar 2001 The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971. The 2001 declaration of succession was made by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Seychelles 5 May 1992
Sierra Leone 23 Aug 1996
Slovakia 28 May 1993 Czechoslovakia had signed the Covenant on 7 October 1968 and ratified it on 23 December 1975.
Slovenia 6 Jul 1992 The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971.
Solomon Islands 17 Mar 1982
Somalia 24 Jan 1990
South Africa 3 Oct 1994
Spain 28 Sep 1976 27 Apr 1977
Sri Lanka 11 Jun 1980
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 9 Nov 1981
Sudan 18 Mar 1986
Suriname 28 Dec 1976
Swaziland 26 Mar 2004
Sweden 29 Sep 1967 6 Dec 1971
Switzerland 18 Jun 1992
Syrian Arab Republic 21 Apr 1969
Tajikistan 4 Jan 1999
Thailand 5 Sep 1999
The Republic of Macedonia 18 Jan 1994 The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971.
Timor-Leste 16 Apr 2003
Togo 24 May 1984
Trinidad and Tobago 8 Dec 1978
Tunisia 30 Apr 1968 18 Mar 1969
Turkey 15 Aug 2000 23 Sep 2003
Turkmenistan 1 May 1997
Uganda 21 Jan 1987
Ukraine 20 Mar 1968 12 Nov 1973 Signed and ratified as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 16 Sep 1968 20 May 1976
United Republic of Tanzania 11 Jun 1976
United States of America 5 Oct 1977
Uruguay 21 Feb 1967 1 Apr 1970
Uzbekistan 28 Sep 1995
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 24 Jun 1969 10 May 1978
Viet Nam 24 Sep 1982
Yemen 9 Feb 1987 Effected as Yemen Arab Republic
Zambia 10 Apr 1984
Zimbabwe 13 May 1991

States not members of the Covenant[edit]

The majority of states in the world are parties to the ICESCR. As of June 2012 the following 33 states have either not yet signed the convention, or have signed but have not yet ratified the convention.[75]

Signed but not ratified[edit]

  1.  Belize (2000-09-06)
  2.  Comoros (2008-09-25)
  3.  Cuba (2008-02-28)
  4.  Palau (2011-09-20)
  5.  São Tomé and Príncipe (1995-10-31)
  6.  South Africa (1994-10-03)
  7.  United States of America (1977-10-05)

Neither signed nor ratified[edit]

  1.  Principality of Andorra
  2.  Antigua and Barbuda
  3.  Botswana
  4.  Bhutan
  5.  Brunei
  6.  Burma (Myanmar)
  7.  Fiji
  8.  Haiti
  9.  Kiribati
  10.  Malaysia
  11.  Marshall Islands
  12.  Federated States of Micronesia
  13.  Mozambique
  14.  Nauru
  15.  Oman
  16.  Qatar
  17.  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  18.  Samoa
  19.  Saudi Arabia
  20.  Singapore
  21.  St. Lucia
  22.  South Sudan
  23.  Tonga
  24.  Tuvalu
  25.  United Arab Emirates
  26.  Vanuatu

Non-members of the UN[edit]

  1.  Taiwan (Republic of China)[notes 1]
  2.   Vatican City (through the Holy See)[notes 2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The ROC lost its United Nations seat in 1971 (replaced as the representative of China by the People's Republic of China under Resolution 2758). The Republic of China government signed the Covenant in 1967 but did not ratify; in 2009 Taiwan finally ratified it, but the deposit was rejected by the UN.
  2. ^ The Vatican is not a member of the United Nations though it holds observer status.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights". http://www.refworld.org. 
  2. ^ "EISIL International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights". http://www.eisil.org. 
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  59. ^ CESCR General Comment 13, paragraph 41.
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External links[edit]


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39 news items

 
GhanaWeb
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:33:45 -0700

At the global level, Article 13 of the United Nations' 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right of everyone to education. Education is certainly important and parents and schools have a great role to play.
 
Amnesty International
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:37:30 -0700

... alternative housing for those unable to provide for themselves or compensation for the loss of property. The demolitions in Badia East constituted a forced eviction which violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ...
 
ISN (blog)
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 22:01:07 -0700

Despite the fact that Chapter III of the Qatari Constitution is devoted to rights and freedoms, Qatar is not a party to most human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International ...
 
AllAfrica.com
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:22:30 -0700

The demolitions in Badia East constituted a forced eviction which violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), a treaty to which Nigeria is a party. Under international human rights standards, all people ...
 
Jakarta Post
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:18:45 -0700

... that Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama had to take responsibility for the evictions, which were against the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which has already been ...
 
MorungExpress
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:11:15 -0700

Right to food is made fundamental right to be free from hunger and is human right, which has derived from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), recognizing the right to an adequate standard of living, including ...
 
International Viewpoint
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 00:30:00 -0700

The CADTM needs to take a sharp turn at the international level, redefine international cooperation to finally start implementing this fundamental text of the United Nations as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ...
 
AllAfrica.com
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 08:33:45 -0700

... of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention No. 87 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize a Union".
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