United Nations Covenant on Social and Cultural Rights

Download: United Nations Covenant On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Plain Language Summary

Plain Language Summary:

Article 1

All peoples have the right to freely choose their economic, social and

cultural growth.

Article 2

Each government commits itself to work towards ensuring the rights of this Covenant, especially through creating new laws. Each government also commits itself to guarantee that these rights are achieved for all persons no matter who they are.*

Article 3

Women and men have equal right to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights as listed in this Covenant.

Article 4

Countries may set limits to these rights only to promote the general well-being of society and to ensure that the rights of this Covenant are achieved.

Article 5

Nothing in this Covenant is meant to reduce any of the rights and freedoms listed in it or any rights and freedoms already accepted or existing in any country signed to this Covenant.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to work, including the right to freely choose or accept work.

Article 7

Everyone has the right to fair working conditions including:

fair wages and equal pay for work of equal value

wages that provide a decent living for people and their family

safe and healthy working conditions

equal opportunity for promotion

and time for rest, with holidays with pay.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to form unions and join the union of their choice, and everyone has the right to strike.

Article 9

Everyone has the right to social security, including social assistance, in times of need.

Article 10

The family unit should be protected and provided with assistance, especially while raising children. Particular consideration should be given to the following areas:

mothers before and after childbirth

working mothers should get paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits

children should be protected from economic and social exploitation and child labour should be illegal

Article 11

Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the on-going improvement of living conditions, especially the right to freedom from hunger.

Article 12

Everyone has the right to the highest possible standard of physical and mental health. Particular consideration should be given to the following areas:

reduction of stillbirth and infant mortality rates and the promotion of healthy child development

improvement of environmental and industrial hygiene prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, occupational and other diseases and the provision of medical attention to everyone in the event of sickness

Article 13

Everyone has the right to education. Primary, secondary and higher education should be available and accessible to all, especially through the introduction of free education.

Article 14

The government of each country signed to this Covenant must make a plan of action for primary education, completely free, if not already in place. And ensure higher education is accessible to all those who have met the academic standards needed to qualify.

Article 15

Everyone has the right to take part in cultural life and to enjoy the benefits of scientific improvements.

Article 16 – 27

Describes the administration of the Covenant.

Article 28

All rights and responsibilities in this Covenant apply to all levels of

government of each country signed to this Covenant.

Article 29 – 30

Describes the administration of the Covenant.

Article 31

The Covenant is available in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

* without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.