Newsletter n°4 - July 2018



Issued twice a year, our newsletter aims to share news about the work of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (CESCR) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on economic, social and cultural rights with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

These two human rights mechanisms are of crucial importance to advocate for a better implementation of ESCR at the national level in Sub - Saharan Africa.

If you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us at


UN Committee on economic, social and cultural rights (CESCR)
  • 64th session in Geneva: 24 September to 12 October 2018
The CESCR will consider the reports of Argentina, Cabo Verde, Germany, Mali, South Africa and Turkmenistan. 
The deadline for submission of parallel reports by NGOs and NHRIs is 31st August 2018.

NB: Note that Human Dignity and its partners will submit a joint report on Mali.

If you are NGO from Cabo Verde interested in submitting information to the Committee but need assistance, please contact us at We’ll be happy to assist you. This is the first time the Committee will examine the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in this country and it is crucial for national CSOs to take part in the reviewing process.
  • Public Consultation on the Draft Guidelines on the Right to Water in Africa
The Commission's Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa, has developed a Draft Guidelines on the Right to Water in Africa.

All stakeholders are invited to forward their inputs on the Draft Guidelines to the African Commission by close of business on Wednesday 15 August 2018.  
  • 63rd ordinary session in Banjul, The Gambia: 24 October to 7 November 2018
The periodic reports to be reviewed will be announced by the Commission in due course.

NEW! Adoption of a procedure for follow-up to concluding observations

The Committee has adopted a new procedure to foster the follow up of its recommendations at the national level. 

It will from now on select up to 3 of its recommendations (from its concluding observations) and ask the State party concerned to respond to them  within 18 months after their adoption. The replies will constitute a follow-up report.

The criteria for this selection are that the selected recommendations require urgent action, and that should be attainable within a period of 18 months. .

National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organizations will also be able to submit information on the follow-up, as they do for the reporting procedure. The information should be:
  • presented in a concise manner (3500 words maximum)
  • submitted  within 18 months after the adoption of the concluding observations or, at the latest, 1 month after the State party’s follow-up report is made public.
  • and sent by email in Word format to 
63rd session of the CESCR

During its 63rd session held from 12 to 29 March 2018, the CESCR adopted Concluding Observations and Recommendations on Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Niger and Spain.

This was the first time the CESCR examined the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in Niger and Central African Republic, after the two countries submitted their initial reports  with an almost three-decade delay (29 years for Niger and 27 years for the Central African Republic).

Recommendations to Niger

In its concluding observations, the CESCR expressed its concerns regarding the lack of resources allocated to the realization of ESCR in Niger.

The Committee also highlighted with concern that girls and women continue to be victims of different forms of discrimination, especially in terms of property ownership and inheritance rights, as well as access to education and the labour market. It invited Niger to adopt a comprehensive legislation on non-discrimination

In relation to workers’ rights, the CESCR urged the State to set up a national minimum wage sufficient to provide a decent living to workers and their families.   

Early marriages of girls, economic exploitation of children and high rate of maternal and infant mortality were also among the concerns raised by the Committee in its concluding observations.

NB: At our initiative and with our technical assistance, our partner in Niger, ROTAB, submitted a parallel report to the CESCR on the impact of extractive industries operating in Niger on the economic and social rights of the population.

In particular, the report highlights how the rights to water, health, housing and food are systematically hampered by mining activities and analyzes  the measures that should be taken by the Nigerian government in order to protect the above-mentioned rights.

Human Dignity and ROTAB also participated in the 63rd session of the CESCR and presented their concerns and recommendations. Most of them were endorsed by the Committee’s which ask Niger to: 
  1. apply rigorously the national legal framework for the exploitation of natural resources;
  2. conduct independent investigations on the impact of extractive activities on the ESCR prior to the starting of mining projects and throughout their implementation;
  3. increase its efforts to guarantee the quality of water sources including by holding liable mining companies which activities are at the origin of  water sources pollution.
Our colleague and Coordinator of ROTAB, Ali Idrissa, whom trial started on 3rd of July, was arrested by security forces in Niamey, Niger in March, just a few weeks after he traveled to Geneva for the presentation of the report. We join other NGOs and ask for the immediate and unconditional release of all defenders arrested because of their human rights work.

Recommendations to the Central African Republic

The Committee pointed out the relevance of the Covenant in a context of armed conflict and reiterated its view that both international human rights law and international humanitarian law are applicable in situations of emergency. 

The Committee also raised concerns that the ESCR of refugees and internally displaced persons in CAR are not fully guaranteed and reminded that the humanitarian aid should be distributed without discrimination and taking into account the special needs of persons with disabilities.

Furthermore, the Committee noted the persistent marginalization and vulnerability of the indigenous people (Mbororo et Baka) who continue to experience serious difficulties in accessing their ESCR and invited the State to fight against the discrimination of indigenous people and to strengthen their protection in the context of the armed conflict.

62d pre-sessional working group of the CESCR

During the 62d pre-sessional Working Group of the CESCR held from 3 to 6 April 2018, Lists of Issues that will constitute the principal focus of the CESCR’s dialogue with States were adopted on Cameroon, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Mauritius and Slovakia. 

The CESCR will consider the initials reports of Cameroon and Mauritius during its future sessions, most likely in early 2019.

Parallel reports by NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions should be transmitted to the CESCR preferably at least 3 weeks before the beginning of the session.

Human Dignity is committed to strengthening the role and participation of national NGOs at the sessions of regional and international human rights mechanisms. Should you need technical assistance in drafting and submitting a parallel report to the CESCR, do not hesitate to contact us at

62d session of the Commission  

From 25 April to 9 May 2018 the Commission held its 62nd Ordinary Session in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The Commission considered the periodic reports of Nigeria and Eritrea. Concluding observations are not yet available.

The Commission  also launched several documents notably:
  • A Joint  General  Comment  (ACHPR  and ACERWC) on Ending Child Marriage
On 8 February 2018, the ACHPR and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) adopted the first Joint General Comment on child marriage.
  • A Study on “HIV, the Law and Human Rights in the African Human Rights System: Key   Challenges and Opportunities for Rights -Based Responses to HIV”
This report provides the first comprehensive analysis of the state of protection of the rights of people living with HIV in Africa. The three-year study on HIV and Human Rights has been initiated in 2014 after the adoption by the African Commission of Resolution 290 on “the Need to Conduct a Study on HIV, the Law and Human Rights”.  
  • A Study on Child Marriage in Africa
In 2014, ACHPR adopted Resolution 292 on “the Need to Conduct a Study on Child Marriage in Africa”, tasking the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa to conduct the study with the support of the ACERWC and the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria.  

The study aims at accelerating the fight against child marriage by assisting State Parties to strengthen the implementation of the legal prohibitions of child marriage and to adopt effective policy for eradicating this practice.

The study has been conducted in 10 African countries: Cameroon, the DRC, The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, South Africa and Uganda. Even though the child marriages are prohibited by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, this practice is still rampant on the continent.
  • Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security

The working group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the working group on Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities haS developed a Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security. It was open to public consultation until 11 June 2018. The Working Group will meet in Alger, Algeria on 16 and 17 July 2018 to examine the Draft Protocol.

23rd  extraordinary session of the Commission

From 13 to 22 February 2018, the Commission held its 23rd  extraordinary session in Banjul, the Gambia.

The  Commission  considered  and  adopted  concluding  observations  on  the  periodic reports of  Niger, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania. Concluding observations are not yet available.