The Committee on economic, social and cultural rights
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties. The Committee was established under ECOSOC Resolution 1985/17 of 28 May 1985 to carry out the monitoring functions assigned to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Part IV of the Covenant.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially within two years of accepting the Covenant and thereafter every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.
In addition to the reporting procedure, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which came into force on 5th May 2013, provides the Committee competence to receive and consider communications from individuals claiming that their rights under the Covenant have been violated. In addition to considering inter-state complaints, the Committee may also, under certain circumstances, undertake inquiries into grave or systematic violations of any of the economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the Covenant.
The Committee meets in Geneva and currently holds two sessions per year, consisting of a three-week plenary and a one-week pre-sessional working group. From 2015, the Committee should be holding 3 sessions per year.
The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the provisions of the Covenant, known as general comments.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights established the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission was inaugurated on 2 November 1987 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Commission’s Secretariat has subsequently been located in Banjul, The Gambia.
The Commission consists of 11 members elected by the African Union Assembly from experts nominated by the State parties to the Charter. Members of the Commission are elected for a six-year term and are eligible for re-election.
In addition to performing any other tasks which may be entrusted to it by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the Commission is officially charged with three major functions:
- The protection of human and peoples' rights
The Commission ensures protection of human and peoples’ rights through its communication procedure, friendly settlement of disputes, state reporting (including consideration of NGOs’ shadow reports), urgent appeals and other activities of special rapporteurs and working groups and missions.
- The promotion of human and peoples' rights
The Commission carries out sensitisation, public mobilisation and information dissemination through seminars, symposia, conferences and missions.
- The interpretation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
The Commission is mandated to interpret the provisions of the Charter upon a request by a state party, organs of the AU or individuals.
For more information, please visit the website of the Commission and the webpage of its Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.