Civil society campaign for the Ratification of ICESCR 2013.pdf
South African government finally ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCTR).
ICESCR recognises that many people do not enjoy some of the most basic rights and responds to the fact that vast numbers of people live in poverty, go hungry, do not have adequate shelter and do not have access to education.
The rights in the ICESCR include:
- The right to work and for everyone to earn a living through freely chosen work
- The right to just and favourable conditions of work
- The right to social security, including social insurance
- The right to family protection
- The right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions
- The right to enjoy the highest possible standard of physical and mental health
- The right to education, including compulsory primary education
Economic, social and cultural rights are important for everyone, particularly society's most vulnerable groups such as children.
The ICESCR provides for the rights of children through its articles on protection of the family, protection of children from economic and social exploitation, the right to education and provision for the reduction of still-birth rate and infant mortality. Its other provisions are important for children too, such as the right to self-determination, the right to social security, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to be free from hunger, the right to the highest standard of physical and mental health, the right to take part in cultural life, the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and others.
Although the South African Constitution provides for a comprehensive package of social, economic and cultural rights, the provisions of the ICESCR are far more extensive. Ratification of the Covenant has made it binding and serves as a call to action to afford the people of South Africa a broader spectrum of entitlements.