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The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

  • Fons Coomans
Living reference work entry
Part of the International Human Rights book series (IHR)

Abstract

This chapter will deal with the activities and achievements of one of the UN human rights monitoring bodies, namely, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which was established to monitor implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It will discuss the mandate and functioning of the Committee, assess its achievements over the years, and in light of challenges ahead, discuss its future potential and limitations. As an approach, this chapter will apply an analysis and discussion of the output of the Committee in terms of documents adopted. The Committee has been active in making the Covenant from a stepchild to full member of the UN human rights family and strengthening the status of economic, social, and cultural rights as human rights. It has clarified the normative content of economic, social and cultural rights and relating obligations by using and applying ideas and suggestions from academic discourse. A dynamic interpretation of the Covenant has been developed which emphasizes the key importance and relevance of economic, social, and cultural rights as touchstone for legislation, policy, and practice in societies in the North and the South. Especially through its General Comments, and to a lesser extent its Concluding Observations, has the Committee been able to explain and highlight that the protection of economic, social, and cultural rights is a key element of human dignity. However, the Committee still has to deal with skeptic views of governments who question the legal nature of economic, social, and cultural rights as human rights.

Keywords

Economic, social, and cultural rights International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights State reports General Comments Optional Protocol Justiciability Violations Extraterritorial human rights obligations 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International and European LawUNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Peace, Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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