International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Just as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights elaborates upon most of the civil and political rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights elaborates upon most of the economic, social, and cultural rights set forth in the Universal Declaration: the right to work; the right to just and favourable conditions of work; trade union rights; the right to social security; rights relating to the protection of the family; the right to an adequate standard of living; the right to health, the right to education: and rights relating to culture and science. Unlike its companion International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, however, this covenant is not geared, with modest exception, to immediate implementation, the states parties having agreed only "to take steps" toward "achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the... Covenant," and then subject to "the maximum of [their] available resources." The covenant is essentially a "promotional convention," stipulating objectives more than standards and requiring implementation over time rather than all at once. One obligation is, however, subject to immediate application: the prohibition of discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights enumerated on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, or political or other opinion; national or social origin; property; and birth or other status. Also, the international supervisory measures that apply to the covenant oblige the states parties to report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council on the steps they have adopted and the progress they have made in achieving the realization of the enumerated rights.
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