In cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Sweden, commissioners at the MNHRC and government officials will participate in a two-day training workshop on the ICESCR in Yangon on 27-28 May. The purpose of the workshop is to give the MNHRC and ministry officials increased knowledge and understanding of the role of NHRIs and the government in promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights in Myanmar, and to raise awareness on the ICESCR in order to put Myanmar in a better position to ratify the Covenant in the near future.
“… the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.” In accordance with this excerpt from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICESCR is, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the core Conventions of the United Nations. It has its roots in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and not only sets forth general principles of human rights but also contains binding commitments to them.
The Covenant contains some core provisions, all subject to the principle of “progressive realisation”. The principle acknowledges that some rights (e.g. the right to health) may be difficult in practice to achieve in a short period of time and that states may be subject to resource constraints, but requires them to act as best they can within their means and to continually take steps towards the realisation of the rights contained within the Covenant.
The ICESCR contains the Right to Work, the Right to Social Security, including Social Insurance, the Right to Family Life, the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, the Right to Health, the Right to Free Education and the Right to Participation in Cultural Life.
There is a Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights consisting of a body of 18 experts on human rights that have the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the Covenant. All state parties are required to submit a report to the Committee outlining the measures they have taken to implement the rights in the Covenant. The Committee replies to the reports submitted by each state party in the form of “concluding observations”.