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COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS HOLDS FIFTY-FIRST SESSION FROM 4 TO 29 NOVEMBER
Experts to Review Reports of Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Kuwait and Norway
31 October 2013

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 4 to 29 November to examine measures taken by Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Kuwait and Norway to comply with the standards of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

At the opening of the session, on Monday, 4 November, the Committee will hear an address from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights or her representative. The Committee will then adopt its agenda and discuss organizational matters and its methods of work. In the afternoon, the Committee will hold a meeting with non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions, and will hear information with respect to the country reports that will be reviewed during the session.

Eight out of the 10 States parties presenting reports during this session have been previously reviewed by the Committee. 

Belarus is presenting its combined fourth to sixth periodic report (E/C.12/BLR/4-6), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its third periodic report, which was considered in November 1996, can be found in (E/C.12/1/Add.7/Rev.1).  Austria is presenting its fourth periodic report (E/C.12/AUT/4), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its third periodic report, which was considered in November 2005, can be found in (E/C.12/AUT/CO/3).  Belgium is presenting its fourth periodic report (E/C.12/BEL/4), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its third periodic report, which was considered in November 2007, can be found in (E/C.12/BEL/CO/3).  Norway is presenting its fifth periodic report (E/C.12/NOR/5), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its fourth periodic report, which was considered in May 2005, can be found in (E/C.12/1/Add.109). 

Kuwait is presenting its second periodic report (E/C.12/KWT/2), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial report, which was considered in April and May 2004, can be found in (E/C.12/1/Add.98).  Bosnia and Herzegovina is presenting its second periodic report (E/C.12/BIH/2), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial report, which was considered in November 2005, can be found in (E/C.12/BIH/CO/1).  Albania is presenting its combined second to third periodic report (E/C.12/ALB/2-3) and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial report, which was considered in November 2006, can be found in (E/C.12/ALB/CO/1).  Egypt is presenting its combined second to fourth periodic report (E/C.12/EGY/2-4), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial report, which was considered in May 2000, can be found in (E/C.12/1/Add.44).

Gabon is presenting its initial report (E/C.12/GAB/1) and Djibouti is presenting its combined initial and second periodic report (E/C.12/DJI/1-2)

The main documents before the Committee regarding these countries are accessible from the Committee’s web page.  At the end of the session, the concluding observations of the Committee on each State party will also be accessible on this website.

The dialogues are also webcast (in one language) and archives are also available.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the General Assembly in 1966. It entered into force on 3 January 1976.

The right to self-determination is universal, affirms Article 1 of the Covenant, also calling upon States to respect and to promote the realization of this 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. Articles 4 and 5 provide 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. They also prevent States from limiting rights already enjoyed within their territories on the grounds that such rights are not recognized, or recognized to a lesser extent, in the Covenant.

Articles 6 to 15 recognize the right to work; to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work; to form and join trade unions; to social security, including social insurance; to the widest possible protection and assistance for the family, mothers, children and younger persons; to an adequate standard of living; to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; to an education and to take part in cultural life.

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is an international treaty establishing complaint and inquiry mechanisms It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 2008, and opened for signature on 24 September 2009. The Optional Protocol entered into force on 5 May 2013 and has 45 signatories and 11 Parties, having been ratified by Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mongolia, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovakia Spain and Uruguay.

States Parties to the Covenant


The Covenant has been ratified or acceded to by 161 States: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, 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, Haiti, 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, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, 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 18 Experts: Aslan Khuseinovich Abashidze (Russian Federation); Mohamed Ezzeldin Adel-Moneim (Egypt); Clement Atangana (Cameroon); Maria-Virginia Bras Gomes (Portugal); Jun Cong (China); Chandrashekhar Dasgupta (India); Zdzislaw Kedzia (Poland); Azzouz Kerdoun (Algeria); Mikel Mancisidor (Spain); Jaime Marchan Romero (Ecuador); Sergei Martynov (Belarus); Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay (Mauritius);Lydia Carmelita Ravenberg (Suriname); Renato Zerbini Ribeiro Leao (Brazil); Waleed Sadi (Jordan); Nikolaas Jan Schrijver (Netherlands); Heisoo Shin (Republic of Korea); and Alvaro Tirado Mejia (Colombia).

Mr. Kedzia is the Chairperson; the Vice-Chairpersons are Mr. Dasgupta, Mr. Kerdoun, and Mr. Ribeiro Leao; and Ms. Bras Gomes is Rapporteur of the Committee.

Provisional Programme of Work

Monday, 4 November


10 a.m.           Opening of session, adoption of the agenda, submission of reports, organization of work

3 p.m.            Meeting with partners (public and private)

Tuesday, 5 November


10 a.m.           Second report of Kuwait (E/C.12/KWT/2)

3 p.m.            Report of Kuwait (continued)

Wednesday, 6 November


10 a.m.           Second and third periodic report of Albania (E/C.12/ALB/2-3)

3 p.m.            Report of Albania (continued)

Thursday, 7 November


10 a.m.           Fourth report of Belgium (E/C.12/BEL/4)

3 p.m.            Report of Belgium (continued)

Friday, 8 November


10 a.m.           Second report of Bosnia and Herzegovina (E/C.12/BIH/2)

3 p.m.            Report of Bosnia and Herzegovina (continued)

Monday, 11 November


10 a.m.           Meeting with partners (public and private)

3 p.m.            Initial and second periodic report of Djibouti (E/C.12/DJI/1-2)

Tuesday, 12 November

10 a.m.           Report of Djibouti (continued)

3 p.m.            Report of Djibouti (continued)

Wednesday, 13 November


10 a.m.           Fourth to sixth periodic report of Belarus (E/C.12/BLR/4-6)

3 p.m.            Report of Belarus (continued)

Thursday, 14 November


10 a.m.           Second to fourth periodic report of Egypt (E/C.12/EGY/2-4)

3 p.m.            Report of Egypt (continued)

Monday, 18 November


10 a.m.           Meetings with partners (public and private)

3 p.m.            Initial report of Gabon (E/C.12/GAB/1)

Tuesday, 19 November

10 a.m.           Report of Gabon (continued)

3 p.m.            Report of Gabon (continued)

Wednesday, 20 November

10 a.m.           Fourth report of Austria (E/C.12/AUT/4)

3 p.m.            Report of Austria (continued)

Thursday, 21 November

10 a.m.           Fifth report of Norway (E/C.12/NOR/5)

3 p.m.            Report of Norway (continued)

Friday, 29 November

12 p.m.          Briefing for States

3 p.m. Public closing of the session (to be confirmed).


For use of the information media; not an official record

ESC13/013E