The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today opened its seventieth session, hearing opening remarks from Mahamane Cissé-Gouro, Director of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mohamed Ezzeldein Abdel-Moneim of Egypt was elected Chair of the Committee, by consensus. Rodrigo Uprimny (Colombia), Aslan Abashidze (Russian Federation), Heisoo Shin (Republic of Korea) and Michael Windfuhr (Germany) were elected, by consensus, as Vice-Chairs of the Committee. The Rapporteur of the Committee will be named at a later date.
The Committee adopted its agenda and programme of work for the seventieth session, during which it is scheduled to review the reports of Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait, and Nicaragua. The Committee’s review of the report of Bahrain has been postponed.
Mahamane Cissé-Gouro, Director of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that the Committee had received an impressive number of online contributions to its draft general comment on land and economic, social and cultural rights. Climate change, pollution and environmental degradation were issues at the heart of the Committee’s concerns. Those issues posed serious threats to the rights the Committee was mandated to monitor. The United Nations Human Rights Office was ready to support the Committee’s work, including by mobilising colleagues on the ground during the regional consultation phase of the Committee’s other draft general comment, on sustainable development. The Committee’s work would help promote a rights-based approach in the response to the climate change crisis which was mobilising the international community.
At the annual meeting of the Chairpersons of the human rights treaty bodies, Mr. Cissé-Gouro noted that Chairs had discussed the report on the 2020 treaty body review. Issues under discussion had included developing a predictable review calendar across treaty bodies, harmonisation of working methods, and the use of technology to increase efficiency, transparency and accessibility of the treaty body system. Comprehensive proposals were on the table, which were to be considered by all Committees during their meetings until the end of 2021. If necessary, the United Nations Human Rights Office would facilitate another meeting of the Chairs, he said. Mr. Cissé-Gouro paid tribute to the Committee’s outgoing Chair, Renato Zerbini Ribeiro Leão, noting that the Committee had ensured critical continuity under his leadership.
Since its last session, the Committee, which had 30 outstanding reports, had received the reports of Kyrgyzstan, Italy, Mongolia, France, Indonesia and Albania. In addition, during the current session, the Committee would consider issues relating to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found at the session’s webpage.
The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 27 September, at 3 p.m. to meet with national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations.