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Experts to Review Reports of Paraguay, Tajikistan and Gambia
19 February 2015

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 23 February to 6 March to examine measures taken by Paraguay, Tajikistan and Gambia to comply with the standards of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

At the opening of the session, on Monday, 23 February, the Committee will hear an address from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights or his representative.  The Committee will elect a Chairperson, three Vice-Chairpersons and a Rapporteur; it will then adopt its agenda and discuss organizational matters and its methods of work and will hold a meeting with non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions to hear information with respect to the country reports that will be reviewed during the session.  In the afternoon, the Committee will begin with the review of the report of Paraguay.  Reports will be reviewed over two days, rather than one day, as was previously the practice.

The country reports, common core documents, written replies, lists of issues, parallel reports and other session documents before the Committee are accessible on the Committee’s webpage in various official United Nations languages. At the end of the session, the concluding observations of the Committee on each State party will also be accessible on this website.

Paraguay is presenting its fourth periodic report E/C.12/PRY/4.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the combined second and third periodic report of Paraguay, which was reviewed in November 2007, can be found in E/C.12/PRY/CO/3.

Tajikistan is presenting its combined second and third periodic report E/C.12/TJK/2-3.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the initial report of Tajikistan, which was reviewed in November 2007, can be found in E/2007/22, paras. 441-519. 

Gambia is presenting its initial report E/C.12/GMB/1

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.

Article 1 of the Covenant states that all peoples have the right of self-determination and may freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources.  In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence. Article 2 states that States Parties undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the Covenant will be exercised 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.  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 18 Parties, having been ratified by Argentina, Belgium,  Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Gabon, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Montenegro, Niger, Portugal, Slovakia Spain and Uruguay.

States Parties to the Covenant

The Covenant has been ratified or acceded to by 163 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, State of Palestine, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, 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); Shiqiu Chen (China); Chandrashekhar Dasgupta (India); Olivier de Schutter (Belgium); Zdzislaw Kedzia (Poland); Azzouz Kerdoun (Algeria); Mikel Mancisidor (Spain); 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 Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes (Colombia).

Provisional Programme of Work

Monday, 23 February

10 a.m. Opening of session, election of officers, adoption of the agenda, submission of reports, organization of work, meeting
with partners (public and private)

3 p.m. Report of Paraguay E/C.12/PRY/4

Tuesday, 24 February

10 a.m. Report of Paraguay (continued)

3 p.m.   Report of Tajikistan E/C.12/TJK/2-3

Wednesday, 25 February

10 a.m. Report of Tajikistan (continued)

3 p.m. Report of Gambia E/C.12/GMB/1

Thursday, 26 February

10 a.m. Report of Gambia (continued)

3 p.m. Report of Gambia (continued)

Friday, 27 February

10 a.m. Closed meeting

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Friday, 6 March

10 a.m. (closed meeting)

3 p.m. Public closing of the session

For use of the information media; not an official record