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The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral
treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relat ...

treaty
adopted by the
United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), serving as the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the UN. Its ...
on 16 December 1966 through GA. Resolution 2200A (XXI), and came in force from 3 January 1976. It commits its parties to work toward the granting of
economic, social, and cultural rights Economic, social and cultural rights are Socioeconomics, socio-economic human rights, such as the right to education, right to housing, right to an adequate standard of living, right to health, victims' rights and the right to science and cultur ...
(ESCR) to the Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories and individuals, including
labour rights Labor rights or workers' rights are both legal rights and human rights Human rights are moral principles or normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of ...
and the
right to health The right to health is the economic, social, and cultural right to a universal minimum standard of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quali ...
, the
right to educationThe right to education has been recognized as a human right in a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ...

right to education
, and the
right to an adequate standard of living The right to an adequate standard of living is a fundamental human rights, human right. It is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly, General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec ...
. As of July 2020, the Covenant has 171 parties. A further four countries, including the United States, have signed but not ratified the Covenant. The ICESCR (and its Optional Protocol) is part of the
International Bill of Human Rights International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". International may also refer to: Music Albums * International (Kevin Michael album), ''International'' (Kevin Michael album), 2011 * International (New Order album), ' ...
, along with the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
(UDHR) and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the c ...
(ICCPR), including the latter's
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...
and
second The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the of in the (SI) (french: Système International d’unités), commonly understood and historically defined as of a – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 s, th ...
Optional Protocols. The Covenant is monitored by the UN
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly r ...
.


Genesis

The ICESCR has its roots in the same process that led to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
. 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 was given the task of drafting it. 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. Drafting continued on the convention, but there remained significant differences between UN members on the relative importance of negative civil and political versus
positive Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Converging lens or positive lens, in optics * Plus sign, the sign "+" used to indicate a positive number * Positive (electricity), a po ...
economic, social and cultural rights. 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."United Nations General Assembly Resolution 543, 5 February 1952. The two covenants were to contain as many similar provisions as possible, and be opened for signature simultaneously. Each would also contain an article on the right of all peoples to
self-determination The right of a people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an ...
. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realisation of the right of
self-determination The right of a people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an ...
, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. The first document became the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the c ...
, and the second the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The drafts were presented to the
UN General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations System consists of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) ...

UN General Assembly
for discussion in 1954, and adopted in 1966.


Summary

The Covenant follows the structure of the UDHR and the ICCPR, with a preamble and thirty-one articles, divided into five parts. Part 1 (Article 1) recognises the right of all peoples to
self-determination The right of a people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an ...
, including the right to "freely determine their political status", pursue their economic, social and cultural goals, and manage and dispose of their own resources. It recognises a
negative right Negative and positive rights are rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people acco ...
of a people not to be deprived of its means of subsistence, and imposes an obligation on those parties still responsible for non-self governing and trust territories (colonies) to encourage and respect their self-determination. 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". 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". Part 3 (Articles 6–15) lists the rights themselves. These include rights to * work, under "just and favourable conditions", with the right to form and join trade unions (Articles 6, 7, and 8); *
social security Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
, including
social insurance Social insurance is a concept where the government intervenes in the insurance market to ensure that a group of individuals are insured or protected against the risk of any emergencies that lead to financial problems. This is done through a proc ...
(Article 9); * family life, including paid
parental leave Parental leave, or family leave, is an employee benefit available in almost all countries. The term "parental leave" may include maternity, Paternity (law), paternity, and adoption leave; or may be used distinctively from "maternity leave" and " ...
and the protection of children (Article 10); * an adequate standard of living, including adequate
food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, protein (nutrient), proteins, vi ...
, clothing and
housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to the construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford Eng ...
, and the "continuous improvement of living conditions" (Article 11); * health, specifically "the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health" (Article 12); *
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

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",''ICESCR'', Article 13.1 and enable all persons to participate effectively in society (Articles 13 and 14); * participation in cultural life (Article 15). As negative and positive rights are rights that oblige either action (positive rights) or inaction (negative rights), many of these aforementioned rights include specific actions which must be undertaken to realise them, as they are
positive Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Converging lens or positive lens, in optics * Plus sign, the sign "+" used to indicate a positive number * Positive (electricity), a po ...
economic, social and cultural rights that go beyond relatively inaction-based civil and political
negative rights Negative and positive rights are rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people acco ...
. 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 The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; french: links=no, Conseil économique et social des Nations unies, ) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental org ...

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 The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations System consists of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) ...

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


Principle of progressive realisation

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.
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. 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. 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. If resources are highly constrained, this should include the use of targeted programmes aimed at the vulnerable. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regards legislation as an indispensable means for realizing 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.


Labour rights

Article 6 of the Covenant recognizes the
right to work The right to work is the concept that people have a human right Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford ...

right to work
as defined by the opportunity of everyone to gain a means of sustenance by means of freely chosen or accepted work. 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 Full employment is a situation in which there is no cyclical or deficient-demand unemployment. Full employment does not entail the disappearance of all unemployment, as other kinds of unemployment, namely structural A structure is an arrangement ...
. 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. The fact that work must be freely chosen or accepted means parties must prohibit forced or
child labour Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Such e ...

child labour
. The work referred to in Article 6 must be ''
decent work Decent work is employment Employment is the relationship between two parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black border edge.jpg, 3 ...
''. 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 Equal pay for equal work is the concept of labour rights that individuals in the same workplace A workplace is a location where someone works for their employer, a place of employment Employment is a relationship between two party (law), pa ...

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 Working time is the period of time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, ...

working hours
and regular,
paid holidays Annual leave is paid time off work granted by employer Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights ...
. Article 8 recognises the right of workers to form or join trade unions and protects the
right to strike Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy ...
. However, 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 China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...
,
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...
), or extending the restriction of union rights to groups such as
firefighter A firefighter is a rescuer extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish conflagration, hazardous fires that threaten life, property, and the environment as well as to rescue people and in some cases or jurisdictions also animals ...

firefighter
s (e.g., 
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...
).


Right to social security

Article 9 of the Covenant recognises "the right of everyone to
social security Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
, including
social insurance Social insurance is a concept where the government intervenes in the insurance market to ensure that a group of individuals are insured or protected against the risk of any emergencies that lead to financial problems. This is done through a proc ...
". 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. 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). The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has noted persistent problems with the implementation of this right, with very low levels of access. 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.


Right to family life

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". Parties must ensure that their citizens are free to establish families and that marriages are freely contracted and not forced. Parties must also provide
paid leaveThe labour law concept of leave, specifically paid leave or, in some countries' long-form, a leave of absence, is an authorised prolonged absence from work, for any reason authorised by the workplace. When people "take leave" in this way, they are us ...
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.


Right to an adequate standard of living

Article 11 recognises the
right to an adequate standard of living The right to an adequate standard of living is a fundamental human rights, human right. It is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly, General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec ...
. This includes, but is not limited to, the right to adequate food, clothing, housing, and "the continuous improvement of living conditions". It also creates an obligation on parties to work together to eliminate
world hunger Malnutrition is 'a state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effect on tissue and body form (body shape, size and composition) and function and clinical ou ...
. The right to adequate food, also referred to as the
right to food The right to food, and its variations, is a human right protecting the right of people to feed themselves in dignity, implying that sufficient food is available, that people have the means to access it, and that it adequately meets the individual' ...
, 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". This must be accessible to all, implying an obligation to provide special programmes for the vulnerable. 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. The right to adequate food also implies a
right to water The Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWAS) is a principle that acknowledges that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to every person's life. It was recognised as a human right Human rights are Morality, moral principle ...
. The right to adequate housing, also referred to as the
right to housing The right to housing is the economic, social and cultural right Economic, social and cultural rights are Socioeconomics, socio-economic human rights, such as the right to education, right to housing, right to an adequate standard of living, rig ...
, is "the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity." 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." 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. The right to adequate clothing, also referred to as the
right to clothing The right to adequate clothing, or the right to clothing, is recognized as a human right Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 Dec ...
, 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.


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". "Health" is understood not just as a right to be healthy, but as a right to control one's own health and body (including reproduction), and be free from interference such as
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering i ...

torture
or medical experimentation. 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. 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. The right to health is interpreted as requiring parties to respect women's
reproductive rights Reproductive rights are legal right Natural rights and legal rights are the two basic types of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental norma ...
, by not limiting access to
contraception Birth control, also known as contraception, anticonception, and fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offsp ...
or "censoring, withholding or intentionally misrepresenting" information about sexual health. They must also ensure that women are protected from harmful traditional practices such as
female genital mutilation Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and female circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the . The practice is found in some countries of Afric ...
. The right to health is an 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.


Right to free education

Article 13 of the Covenant recognises the right of everyone to
free education Free education is education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, ...
(free for the
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
level only, and "the progressive introduction of free education" for the
secondary Secondary is an adjective meaning "second" or "second hand". It may refer to: * Secondary (chemistry), term used in organic chemistry to classify various types of compounds * The group of (usually at least four) defensive backs in gridiron football ...
and higher levels). This is to be directed towards "the full development of the human personality and the sense of its
dignity Dignity is the right Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by i ...

dignity
", 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. 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 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; " imary 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 " gher 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. They also recognise the right of parents to "ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions". 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. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights interpret the Covenant as also requiring states to respect the
academic freedom Academic freedom is a moral and legal concept expressing the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; ...
of staff and students, as this is vital for the educational process. It also considers
corporal punishment A corporal punishment or a physical punishment is a punishment which is intended to cause physical pain to a person. When it is inflicted on Minor (law), minors, especially in home and school settings, its methods may include spanking or Padd ...
in schools to be inconsistent with the Covenant's underlying principle of the dignity of the individual. 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".


Right to participation in cultural life

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 Moral rights are rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise defin ...
of authors and "proclaimthe intrinsically personal character of every creation of the human mind and the ensuing durable link between creators and their creations". 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." 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", and encourage international contacts and cooperation in these fields.


Reservations

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." Bangladesh interprets the self-determination clause in Article 1 as applying in the historical context of
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose the ...

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. 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." China restricts labour rights in Article 8 in a manner consistent with its constitution and domestic law. Egypt accepts the Covenant only to the extent it does not conflict with Islamic
Sharia Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a religious law Religious law includes ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action ...
law. Sharia is "a primary source of legislation" under Article 2 of both the suspended 1973 Constitution and the 2011 Provisional Constitutional Declaration. France views the Covenant as subservient to the
UN Charter The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) is the foundational treaty of the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization. It establishes the purposes, governing structure, and overall framework of the United Nations S ...
. It also reserves the right to govern the access of aliens to employment, social security, and other benefits. India interprets the right of self-determination as applying "only to the peoples under foreign domination" 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. 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. Ireland reserves the right to promote the
Irish language Irish ( in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Symbols * Colours, standards and guidons, kinds of military signs * Heraldic flag, Standard (emblem), a type of a large symbol or emblem used for identification Norms, conventions or requ ...
. Japan reserved the right not to be bound to progressively introduce free secondary and higher education, the right to strike for
public servant The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
and the remuneration on public holidays. 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. Mexico restricts the labour rights of Article 8 within the context of its constitution and laws. 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", and reserves the right to set residence requirements on the rights to work, health, education, and social security. Myanmar has a general reservation to interpret "the right of self-determination" to not interfere with the established government or authorize any action to undermine the government. Additionally, the term does not apply to Section 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, 2008. Section 10 reads: "no part of the territory constituted in the union such as regions, states, union territories, and self-administered areas shall ever secede from the Union." 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. Norway reserves the right to strike so as to allow for compulsory arbitration of some labour disputes. Pakistan has a general reservation to interpret the Covenant within the framework of its constitution. Thailand interprets the right to self-determination within the framework of other international law. 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. United Kingdom views the Covenant as subservient to the UN Charter. It made several reservations regarding its overseas territories. United States –
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use ...

Amnesty 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." The Obama Administration stated "The Administration does not seek action at this time" on the Covenant. The
Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation (abbreviated to Heritage) is an American conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, a ...
, a critical conservative think tank, argues that signing it would obligate the introduction of policies that it opposes such as
universal health care Universal healthcare (also called universal health coverage, universal coverage, or universal care) is a health care system in which all residents of a particular country or region are assured access to health care. It is generally organized aroun ...

universal health care
.


Optional Protocol

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. The Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 2008. It was opened for signature on 24 September 2009, and as of January 2020 has been signed by 45 parties and ratified by 24. Having passed the threshold of required ratifications, it has entered into force on 5 May 2013.


Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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. 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. 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. 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 , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge Carouge () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Carouge is first mentioned in the Early Middle Ages as ''Quadruvium'' and ''Quatruvio''. In 124 ...

Geneva
.


Parties to the covenant

The following are parties to the covenant:


States not members of the Covenant


Signed but not ratified


Neither signed nor ratified

# Andorra # Botswana # Bhutan # Brunei # Kiribati # Malaysia # Federated States of Micronesia # Mozambique # Nauru # Oman # Saint Kitts and Nevis # Samoa # Saudi Arabia # Singapore # St. Lucia # South Sudan # Tonga # Tuvalu # United Arab Emirates # Vanuatu


Non-members of the UN

# Cook Islands # Niue #
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
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 (
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
) finally ratified it, but the deposit was rejected by the UN.
# Vatican City (through the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
)The Vatican is not a member of the United Nations though it holds observer status.


Notes


References


External links

*
List of parties
UNTC
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
the convention's monitoring body
International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights"Rights and Value: Construing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as Civil Commons"
by G. Baruchello & R.L. Johnstone, Studies in Social Justice, Vol 5, No 1 (2011): Special Issue: Life Value and Social Justice, 91–125

on the ''International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights'' in th

{{DEFAULTSORT:Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Covenant Human rights instruments
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