Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concludes 51st session

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concluded its fifty-first session on 29th of November after adopting its concluding observations and recommendations on how Kuwait, Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djibouti, Belarus, Egypt, Gabon, Austria and Norway comply with the standards of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 
The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations will be available on its website: 

In closing remarks, Zdzislaw Kedzia, Committee Chairperson, summarizing developments during the session, said they had launched their session on 4 November, hearing remarks by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.  They had discussed organizational matters, met with partners and reviewed the reports of Kuwait, Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djibouti, Belarus, Egypt, Gabon, Austria and Norway. The Committee had been able to consider so many reports thanks to the decision by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly to allow the Committee to hold extended sessions of four weeks in November 2013 and in May 2014. These extended sessions would allow the Committee to make serious steps towards reducing the backlog of reports before it. 
The Committee had also discussed its working methods related to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on communications and was eager to begin its work in this area.  The Committee had decided to work on a general comment on the right to sexual and reproductive health and to work on a joint statement with other treaty bodies on the issue.  It had also discussed plans related to future work on general comments, while not committing to a drafting process yet, on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its application, on State obligations in the context of corporate activities, and on the environment and development.
Mr. Kedzia said that the Committee was determined to continue its work on reducing and eliminating the backlog of reports awaiting consideration and had decided to approach the Economic and Social Council, and through it the General Assembly, for permission to continue holding extended sessions, and hoped this would be granted.  However, the Committee had to point out that it was also necessary to provide for adequate support  from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in terms of the necessary capacities.  
The Committee’s fifty-second session will be held from 28 April to 23 May 2014, during which it will review the reports of Armenia, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), Czech Republic, El-Salvador, Indonesia, Lithuania, Monaco, Serbia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.