Today, the ICJ makes a submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in advance of Committee’s examination of South Africa’s initial periodic report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
South Africa ratified the Covenant in 2015. This is the first time that the Committee has the opportunity to review a report from South Africa on the implementation of its Covenant obligations.
The ICJ’s oral submissions will focus on the rights to work and an adequate standard of living.
The ICJ’s full written submissions also include emphasis on the rights to education, work and housing of persons with disabilities and recommend that the Committee recommend that the Government of South Africa make time-bound commitments to participative processes leading to:
1. The full domestication of Covenant in South African law
2. A comprehensive review of South Africa’s domestic laws and policies on ESC rights to ensure that they are implemented consistently with South Africa’s obligations in terms of the Covenant; and
3. The ratification of Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In a joint statement with other civil society organizations, ICJ Legal Adviser Timothy Fish Hodgson said: “Unlike the South African Constitution, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights contains a right to work. By ratifying the Covenant in 2015, the government has made a legally binding commitment to progressively eliminate unemployment and ensure that all work – whether in the formal or informal sector – is decent work.”
“As a result, for example, “both the level of the national minimum wage and measures taken by the government to combat South Africa’s 37.2% unemployment rate, should be evaluated in terms of the rights to work and the right to an adequate standard of living,” he added.
The ICJ’s oral submission is available here: South Africa-South Africa Review-Advocacy-Non Legal Submission-2018-ENG
The ICJ’s full written submissions are available here
The South African government’s full report to the Committee is available here
A live stream for the Committee’s proceedings is available hereAdvocacyNon-legal submissions