Monitoring the Committee on ESC rights’ recommendations, Experience of the French Platform for ESC Rights

Friday 4 September 2009 by Alexandra Aubry, Plateforme DESC France

As a signatory State to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, France has an obligation to submit a report to the United Nations Committee in charge of monitoring the implementation of this Covenant. In March 2007, the third periodical French report was submitted. It was examined by the Committee on ESC rights between April 28th and May 16th 2008.

Between 2007 and 2008, the French civil society, via the platform for ESC rights, drafted its first collective alternative report on the ESC rights situation in France. The aim was to prove on the one hand the reality of ESC rights violations and also the necessity of the effectiveness and "justiciability" of those rights by suggesting recommendations.

In order to keep denouncing ESC rights infringements and ensure the monitoring of the Committee’s recommendations, we are working, within the framework of the Platform for ESC rights, on a progress report .

Suggested method within the framework of the Platform for ESC Rights:

1. The platform leader sums up in a document (e.g. a chart) the Committee’s main subjects of concern as well as its recommendations (in accordance with the last report handed by the Committee on ESC rights), which allows determining which rights should be dealt with in priority. (e.g. Once this summary chart was made, the following issues emerged: employment, housing, health and education.).

2. The platform leader then gets in touch with organizations, each specialized in one of the issues, in order to designate together and according to each one’s availabilities and motivation one referent organization per right/issue.

For instance, regarding the right to housing, the leader got in touch with all the housing rights organizations and named according to each person’s motivation a referent for the right to housing. The same procedure is used for each right.

3. The leader will ask this referent to:

  • Select in the alternative report the parts related to the issue he or she is concerned with (definition of the right, Committee on ESC rights’ recommendations, stand taken by the French government on this particular issue, deficiencies or violations of the right in France, etc.)
  • Update the report by keeping track with the events of the few months elapsed since March 2008. This update will have to be done on a regular basis.
  • Circulate the document along with its updates among organizations specialized in the concerned issue, for them to add their amendments and recommendations, to suggest alternatives to the existing policies.

4. Each of the referent organizations will send the documents to the leader on a regular basis (the leader centralizes all the information).

5. Once all the documents finalized, the leader will circulate them among the organizations to keep them all informed.

6. The leader will also send the updated documents to the Committee on ESC rights before the end of 2009 (and we will do so each year in order to facilitate the drafting of the report in 2011).

7. At the same time, we sustain our work by adding to the document some questions that have not been raised by the Committee and that we wish to be examined in more detail. A few suggestions of such issues were made – we now have to write three documents respectively about:

  • jails
  • environmental rights
  • migrations
    The documents will also be sent to the Committee before the end of 2009.

8. This progress report will be a way to:

  • monitor the Committee on ESC rights’ recommendations on a regular basis and keep it informed;
  • call on the French government, the media and the members of parliament;
  • raise civil society’s awareness of the ESC rights situation in France; progressively draft a second alternative report (to be presented in 2013).

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