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The accession of States to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

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  1. Les devoirs des États
  2. L'importance du suivi

Today, various international instruments allow the protection and respect of human rights. Thus, the International Bill of Rights is the basis composed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the two subsequent International Covenants of 1966. The United Nations, which is responsible for their implementation, refers to it as the ethical and legal basis for all the human rights works of the United Nations and the foundation upon which the international system for the protection and promotion of human rights has been developed. Indeed, since its creation, the United Nations has tried to secure the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. We can notice that the two Covenants deal with different rights in more details, and provide a legally binding option. The General assembly agreed to the drafting of two distinct instruments to show a dual approach to human rights protection, but with an unite aim; that is why the two texts were requested to be presented at the same time, after a series of negotiations and consultations involving the States, specialized agencies and NGOs. The first Covenant was that on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the second one was the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which will take part in the issues discussed below. It was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, and came into force on 3 January 1976. It binds approximately three quarters of the membership of the United Nations. If the first covenant deals with the first generation human rights, fundamental basic human rights is required to be exercised by everyone in any fair democratic society, the second one is concerned with the second generation human rights. These rights are more idealistic, such as the right to education or the right to social security. But, the States who decide to become party to the ICESCR will have to fulfil certain obligations so as to implement those rights. Indeed, there are legal implications in accessing to the covenant. Equally, various means are available to provide a backup for the States in this process.

[...] In conclusion, States, which decide to become parties to the Covenant and then to have the responsibilities of various obligations, will have different means so as to help them in doing so. But, it is important to note that individuals also have to promote and respect the rights protected in the Covenant[11]. But, this has also been a faculty given to the non- governmental organisations. Indeed, at its eighth session, in May 1993, the Committee adopted a procedure regarding their participation in its activities. [...]


[...] II The importance of monitoring Indeed, in order to help the State who is accessing to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to fulfil its obligations, various means are available. A variety of technical co-operation and a range of specialized agencies[9] can provide further backup for States in their process. But, this is the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which is the principal body in monitoring the implementation of the Covenant. It has been created by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1985 and met for the first time in 1987. [...]


[...] Yet, the Preamble of the Covenant gives the general idea according which states have, under the Charter of the United Nations, an obligation to ?promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms?. The Covenant will detail this notion with concern of the rights protected in it. Indeed, the accession of a State to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights means legal implications, and particularly, it will have to ?respect', ?protect', ?promote' and ?fulfil' its obligations under the Covenant. To begin, these notions have to be explained in a general way. The obligation to ?respect' requires the State to refrain from interfering with the enjoyment of rights. [...]

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