Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)
opened for signature on December 19, 1966 in New York,
and came into force on January 3, 1976. The main purpose
of the CESCR was to further describe and clarify rights
declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Many of the abstract rights such as self-fulfilment and
legal rights were meaningless when one does not possess
basic and more concrete rights. The CESCR protects these
rights; they can be grouped into the following categories:
"workers' rights, family rights, rights to health
and to an adequate standard of living, educational rights,
and cultural rights" (Dickinson, Liepner,
Talos, and Buckingham. Understanding the Law. 2nd ed.
Canada: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1996, pp. 534)
. Workers' rights entail the freedom to choose one's job,
fair wages, and proper working conditions. Family rights
include the protection of the family as a fundamental
unit of society, paid leave for working mothers, and protection
of children from exploitation. Rights to health and to
an adequate standard of living include the fundamental
right to be free from hunger, the right to proper housing
and standard of living.
Member states that signed the covenant were required
to guarantee the stated rights without discrimination
in any form, namely "race, colour, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, property, birth or other status."
This covenant is monitered by the Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights. The committee holds an annual
meeting takes place in Geneva. Prior to the metting, a
five member team analyzes reports from State Parties to
create a list of questions to ask representatives of certain
parties during the meeting.
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) first
opened for signatures on December 19, 1966, and came into
force on March 23, 1976. Like the CESCR, this covenant
also described and clarified rights stated in the UDHR,
and also dealt with new rights. The rights protected by
the CCPR can be categorized as the rights protecting "sanctity
of life, rights protecting accused persons and criminals,
mobility rights, and civil rights" (Ibid,
pp. 535) . The rights protecting sanctity of life
include the right to be free from the death sentence except
for very serious crimes and the right to not be tortured.
Rights protecting accused persons and criminals include
the right to not be subjected to unfair arrest or detention
and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Mobility
rights protect a person's freedom of movement, and the
right to leave any country and the right to not be unfairly
denied entrance to one's own nation. Civil rights include
the freedom of thought and expression.
Any country bound by the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights is obliged to protect its inhabitants
from having their rights violated. The covenant applies
to every human living in a state under the covenant regardless
of age, gender or race. The Human Rights Committee was
established in 1977 to monitor the state parties and their
actions pertaining to the covenant.