Session 2003-04 28 October 2004
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The Twenty-first Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights of Session 2003-04,
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will be published on
Tuesday 2 November 2004 at 10.00 am as House of Lords Paper 183/House of Commons Paper 1188.
The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights is one of the core instruments of the UN human rights system to which the UK is party. In common with the other principal UN human rights treaties, it requires the States party to it to present periodic reports, at regular intervals, detailing their compliance with the rights it protects.
The UK's fourth periodic report under the Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights was submitted to the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in January 2001. Examination of the UK report by the CESCR took place in Geneva in April 2002. The CESCR's concluding observations were issued in June 2002. They criticised a number of aspects of human rights protection in the UK and made recommendations for change.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights, as part of its mandate to consider matters related to human rights in the United Kingdom, is conducting a programme of inquiries into the UK's implementation of its obligations under the principal UN human rights treaties, and in particular into the action taken in response to the concluding observations of the UN treaty bodies. The Joint Committee has already looked at the implementation of the concluding observations recently issued under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Committee intends to continue to monitor UK reports presented to the UN treaty bodies, and to examine the subsequent concluding observations and the Government's response to them.
The Committee issued a Call for Evidence on 5 March 2003 and this report is in response to the evidence and views received on some of the key criticisms and recommendations made by the UN Committee, and on the Government's response to them.