Summary record of the 22nd meeting, held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Monday, 10 May 2004 : Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 32nd session
Economic and Social
17 May 2004
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 22nd MEETING*
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Monday, 10 May 2004, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson: Ms. BONOAN-DANDAN
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ARISING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
Adoption of draft general comment on the right to work (continued)
* No summary records were issued for the 20th and 21st meetings.
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set
forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent
within one week of the date of this document to the Official Records Editing Section,
room E.4108, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Any corrections to the records of the meetings of the Committee at this session will be
consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session.
GE.04-41575 (E) 130504 170504
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ARISING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
Adoption of draft general comment on the right to work (continued) (E/C.12/2003/7)
1. The CHAIRPERSON invited the Committee to resume its paragraph-by-paragraph
consideration of the draft general comment on the right to work (E/C.12/2003/7).
Chapter II: Normative content (paras. 1 and 2) of article 6 (continued)
Paragraphs 8-9 (continued)
2. Mr. TEXIER said that there was some confusion with regard to the paragraphs that had
been adopted by the Committee at the end of its previous meeting. Paragraph 8 should have
been divided into two separate paragraphs: paragraph 8 - which should have been reformulated
to incorporate the points raised in draft paragraph 9 - and paragraph 8 bis. Paragraph 8 bis would
reflect the sense of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 158 concerning
Termination of Employment at the Initiative of the Employer. It read:
âIn addition, among these rights are included the right of access to a system of
protection guaranteeing each worker access to employment and not to be unfairly
deprived of employment. The Committee recalls ILO Convention No. 158 on
Termination of Employment, which defines the lawfulness of dismissal in its article 4
and establishes in particular the need for a valid reason for such termination and the need
to respect the right of workers to defend themselves and their right to judicial or other
remedies in the event of unfair dismissal.â
3. The CHAIRPERSON read out paragraph 8, which had been adopted by the Committee at
its previous meeting:
âWork, as specified in article 6 of the Covenant, must be decent work. Decent
work is any work which respects the fundamental rights of the human person, as well as
the rights of workers, in terms of conditions of work, safety and remuneration, and which
provides an income allowing workers to earn a living for themselves and their families,
as highlighted particularly in article 7 of the Covenant. These fundamental rights include
respect for the physical and mental integrity of the worker in the exercise of
4. Mr. TEXIER said that the paragraph that had just been read out failed to incorporate the
contents of draft paragraph 9. It was important to place emphasis on the interdependence of
articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Covenant.
5. The CHAIRPERSON said that the paragraph in question would be reformulated to reflect
the point raised by Mr. Texier.
6. Mr. RIEDEL said that the text of proposed paragraphs 8 and 8 bis should be circulated in
writing in all working languages.
7. It was so decided.
8. Mr. SADI proposed that the order of the two sentences should be inverted, so that the
draft paragraph would begin with the words âThe International Labour Organizationâ and end
with the words âarticle 8 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsâ.
9. Paragraph 10, as amended, was adopted.
10. Mr. GRISSA said that in the first sentence it would be more appropriate to refer to the
âinformal economyâ, rather than to the âblack economyâ.
11. Mr. SADI suggested that the words âflexible practicesâ should be deleted from the first
sentence and that the word âeconomicâ should be inserted in the second sentence between the
words âlegislativeâ and âand administrativeâ.
12. Mr. TEXIER said that agricultural and domestic work were two areas of work that were
typically not covered by national labour legislation. The last sentence of the draft paragraph
should therefore be amended to include a reference to agricultural, as well as to domestic, work.
It would read: âSimilarly, domestic and agricultural work must be properly regulated by national
legislation so that domestic and agricultural workers enjoy the same level of protection as other
13. Mr. RIEDEL agreed that the words âflexible practicesâ should be deleted from the first
sentence. He would like further clarification as to why reference should be made to agricultural
work, as well as to domestic work, in the last sentence.
14. Mr. MALINVERNI suggested that the first sentence could be reformulated to read more
simply: âHigh unemployment and the lack of secure employment induced workers to take
employment in the informal economyâ. In addition, the third sentence could be reworded to
read: âSuch measures would compel employers to respect labour legislation and declare their
employees, thus enabling them to enjoy the rights provided for in articles 6, 7 and 8 of the
Covenant.â He did not understand the meaning of the sentence that read: âThe Committee
insists on the need for policies to encourage businesses to assume responsibility, and to promote
microenterprises and self-employmentâ, and would like clarification. Lastly, he said that the
issue of domestic work - and perhaps agricultural work - was important enough to warrant a
15. Mr. ATANGANA said that it would be more appropriate to insert the last two sentences
in chapter III of the draft general comment, setting out States partiesâ obligations.
16. Mr. WINDFUHR (Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN)) said that it
would be useful to include a reference in the draft general comment to agricultural work as
a particularly important part of the informal sector. For instance, in India alone,
approximately 170 million landless peasants were employed as informal workers on
17. Ms. THOMAS (International Labour Organization (ILO)) said that ILO had requested
that reference should be made in the draft general comment to agricultural work as well as to
domestic work, because those were the two categories of workers that were systematically
excluded from labour protection.
18. Mr. RIEDEL said that the words âinsists on the need forâ in the fifth sentence should be
replaced by the words âcalls forâ. The Committee was not in a position to insist on the adoption
of specific measures by States parties.
19. Mr. SADI said that it was unclear what was meant in the third sentence by the notion that
employers should âdeclare their employeesâ. He suggested that the words âThe underlying
approach to suchâ in the fourth sentence should be replaced simply by the word âTheseâ.
Furthermore, it was unclear what businesses were being called on to assume responsibility for.
20. Mr. MARCHÃN ROMERO said that the word âGovernmentsâ in the penultimate
sentence should be replaced by the words âStates partiesâ.
21. Mr. RIEDEL agreed with Mr. Sadi that the meaning of the word âdeclareâ in the third
sentence was not clear. The sentence, as it stood, seemed to be incomplete.
22. Ms. BRAS GOMES said that, in order to clarify matters, the third sentence should be
amended to emphasize more clearly the fact that employers should be compelled to register their
employees with the social security authorities. Workers that were not declared did not pay
contributions and therefore did not benefit from social security protection. In that connection,
she would be in favour of including a reference to the rights provided for in article 9 of the
Covenant, as well as to those provided for in articles 6, 7 and 8.
23. Mr. GRISSA said that it was important to emphasize that employers had an obligation to
declare their employees to the social security authorities.
24. Mr. PILLAY said that he did not understand the meaning of the sentence that read, as
amended: âStates parties must formulate and implement comprehensive policy approaches that
will help the informal sector and workers to overcome the obstacles to the benefit of the security
that legal recognition would give to businesses and to the creation of decent employment.â
25. Mr. MALINVERNI, referring to the fourth and fifth sentences, said that it was difficult to
determine the connection between the need to take into account people living in an informal
economy and the need to promote microenterprises and self-employment.
26. Mr. TEXIER said that that, although he would not object to its deletion, the term
âflexible practicesâ that had been used in the first sentence was a term that was commonly used
as a synonym for precarious working conditions and was recognized as such by trade unions.
Furthermore, the word âdeclareâ in the third sentence was quite clearly being used in the context
of the social security system. Any worker would understand the difference between âdeclaredâ
and âundeclaredâ work. He would not object to the deletion of the reference to microenterprises
and self-employment in the fifth sentence; it would perhaps be preferable to refer simply to the
development of enterprises and trade policies to stimulate employment.
27. Mr. RIEDEL proposed that the fifth sentence, which was too dogmatic, should be deleted
in its entirety. He would also be in favour of deleting the penultimate sentence, the meaning of
which was unclear.
28. Mr. WINDFUHR (Foodfirst Information and Action Network), referring to
Mr. Atanganaâs suggestion to insert the last two sentences in chapter III, dealing with States
partiesâ obligations, said that it was important to include in chapter II, on the normative content
of article 6, a paragraph referring to the informal sector. Regarding the proposal to delete the
fifth sentence, he said that, while it was perhaps not so important to refer to microenterprises, it
would be regrettable to delete the reference to self-employment, which was one of the tools used
to encourage workers to leave the informal sector and to enjoy better working conditions.
29. Ms. BRAS GOMES said that it would also be regrettable to delete the sentence in which
reference was made to comprehensive policy approaches. However, it would perhaps be
preferable to reformulate the sentence to read: âStates parties must formulate and implement
comprehensive policy approaches that will help workers in the informal sector to achieve legal
recognition and decent employment.â
30. Mr. PILLAY suggested that the third sentence could be made clearer by inserting âfor
social security and other purposesâ after the word âdeclareâ. In the last sentence, the word
âsimilarlyâ should be replaced by âmoreoverâ, and the words ânational legislationâ should be
replaced by âappropriate measures, including legislationâ.
31. Mr. TEXIER suggested that the sentence starting with âThe Committee insistsâ, and the
amended sentence beginning âStates parties must formulate and implement â¦â, should be
32. The CHAIRPERSON said that she took it that the Committee members agreed with
Mr. Texierâs suggestion.
33. It was so decided.
34. Mr. KERDOUN welcomed the idea of having a separate paragraph on the informal sector
of the economy. A number of States acknowledged that the informal sector existed, but did not
necessarily wish to incorporate it into the formal sector. Its existence allowed enterprises to be
more flexible in recruiting workers, thereby reducing unemployment, while at the same time
avoiding the numerous responsibilities which they would have to assume by hiring people on a
legal basis. States parties should take steps to enact legislation covering the informal sector, but
without incorporating it into the formal sector.
35. The CHAIRPERSON said that the Committee would refer the paragraph to informal
36. Mr. TEXIER suggested that the paragraph should have a footnote, indicating that some of
the issues referred to in the first sentence of paragraph 12 (b) (i) were covered by article 2,
paragraph 2, and article 3 of the Covenant, while others had been addressed in the Committeeâs
work or by State parties in their case law.
37. Mr. MALINVERNI suggested that paragraph 12 (b) (i) should refer only to the criteria
provided for in article 2, paragraph 2, and article 3 of the Covenant. In particular, physical and
mental disabilities should not be mentioned because the nature of some professions made them
inaccessible to persons with disabilities.
38. Mr. MARCHÃN ROMERO said that a clear distinction had not been made between the
concepts of âavailabilityâ and âaccessibilityâ. In paragraph 12 (c) the words âhave access to the
labour market and findâ should be replaced by âidentify and find availableâ.
39. Mr. SADI said that in the chapeau the words âexercise ofâ should be inserted before âthe
right to workâ; the word âimpliesâ should be replaced by ârequiresâ; and the word âandâ inserted
after âindependentâ. In addition, the word âimplementationâ should be replaced by
40. In paragraph 12 (a), the words âIn each State party there must existâ should be replaced
by âStates parties must haveâ. In paragraph 12 (b), the word âaccessibleâ should be preceded by
41. Mr. TEXIER said that discrimination on the grounds of physical and mental disability
should clearly be prohibited. The courts would then decide on a case-by-case basis whether
discrimination had taken place. In addition, a number of issues, such as sexual orientation, had
not been covered in article 2, paragraph 2, and article 3 of the Covenant. Such discrimination
was unacceptable, but was becoming an increasing problem. However, he agreed with
Mr. Malinverni that, to avoid difficulties, paragraph 12 (b) (i) should refer only to the criteria
provided for in article 2, paragraph 2, and article 3 of the Covenant.
42. Mr. RIEDEL said that such criteria as sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS were of great
importance in the field of human rights and should be referred to in the general comment, in
particular because Committee members often asked delegations to comment on them.
43. Paragraph 12 (a) should be amended in such a way as to make it clear that the specialized
services should be provided by State or private institutions. The words âIt is appropriate to
reaffirm the principle set forthâ in the second sentence of paragraph 12 (b) (i) should be deleted.
In addition, the last sentence of paragraph 12 (b) (ii) should be deleted, as the information it
contained had already been included in general comment No. 5 on persons with disabilities.
44. Mr. GRISSA, referring to paragraph 12 (b) (i), said that, in his view, there was no need to
quote the text of ILO Convention No. 111.
45. Ms. BARAHONA RIERA said that paragraph 12 (b) (i) should contain a reference to
46. Mr. WINDFUHR (Foodfirst Information and Action Network) said that paragraph 12 (b)
should include a reference to economic accessibility to the labour market, which would imply the
need to provide specialized services to help people find employment. Such services were vital
for many people who lacked the training required to find work.
47. Mr. PILLAY suggested that, in paragraph 12 (a), the words âIn each State party there
must existâ should be replaced by âSpecialized services should be provided in each State partyâ,
and the words âwhose role it isâ should be deleted. With regard to paragraph 12 (a) (i), the
words âIt is appropriate to reaffirm the principle set forth inâ should be replaced by âaccording
toâ. In the last sentence, the words âvulnerable membersâ should be replaced by âdisadvantaged
and marginalized groupsâ.
48. Mr. RIEDEL endorsed Mr. Pillayâs suggestions concerning paragraph 12 (a) (i).
However, in the last sentence, he would replace âvulnerable membersâ by âdisadvantaged and
vulnerable groupsâ. In addition, it was important to cite the relevant text of ILO Convention
49. Mr. KOLOSOV said that he would support deleting the reference to sexual orientation
from paragraph 12 (a) (i).
50. Ms. BRAS GOMES said that paragraph 12 (b) should include a reference to affirmative
51. Mr. RIEDEL said that the concept of affirmative action could not be included without a
thorough explanation. In his view, affirmative action should be discussed in the general
comment on article 3 of the Covenant.
52. Mr. SADI, referring to paragraph 12 (b) (ii), said that, in the first sentence, the words âa
constituentâ should be replaced by âan indispensableâ; the indefinite article preceding the word
âlifeâ should be deleted; the word ânecessaryâ should be inserted after âresourcesâ; and the word
âliveâ should be replaced by âlivingâ.
53. Mr. RIEDEL suggested that the words âto liveâ should be replaced by ânecessary for
livingâ. He agreed that a distinction should be made between physical and economic
accessibility, but suggested that an example should be provided to explain the concepts.
54. Mr. WINDFUHR (Foodfirst Information and Action Network) said that the reference to
economic accessibility could also help cover, albeit partially, affirmative action. The paragraph
should state that individuals who did not have economic accessibility to the labour market
needed to have access to specialized services, such as vocational training.
55. Mr. PILLAY wondered whether it was necessary to refer to the right to work in
paragraph 12 (b) (ii), as it had already been referred to previously. However, if the Committee
decided to keep that reference, the words âin a life with dignity for the individualâ should be
replaced by âfor the individual to live a life of dignityâ. The words âthe workerâ should be
inserted after âprovidesâ.
56. Mr. CEAUSU said that the concept of âlife with dignityâ had already been covered in
paragraph 8. If the Committee wished to include it in paragraph 12 (b) (ii), it was important to
mention three issues, namely, lack of discrimination; physical accessibility for people with
disabilities; and access to information. In addition, he saw no link between the first and second
57. The CHAIRPERSON said that she took it that the Committee wished to delete the first
sentence of paragraph 12 (b) (ii) and include a sentence on economic accessibility.
58. It was so decided.
59. Ms. BRAS GOMES, referring to paragraph 12 (b) (iii), suggested that the word âmeansâ
should be replaced by âopportunitiesâ.
60. The CHAIRPERSON suggested that the words âof means ofâ should be replaced by
61. It was so decided.
62. Ms. BRAS GOMES said that European Union directives that made reference to sexual
orientation had been incorporated into the national legislation of a number of member States, a
factor to be borne in mind when deciding on the inclusion or deletion of the reference.
63. Mr. RIEDEL said that the Committee had previously agreed to retain the reference to
sexual orientation and health status, since those questions had been developed under customary
international law or under treaty law. They were widely recognized in treaties subsequent to the
Covenant, and the World Health Organization had strongly recommended their inclusion in the
64. Mr. PILLAY said that the reference to economic accessibility as drafted by the
representative of the Foodfirst Information and Action Network read: âEconomic accessibility is
another dimension of accessibility to employment opportunities for workers through the agency
of specialized services to enable them to offer their labour skills and experience on the labour
65. Mr. TEXIER expressed his doubts as to the accuracy with which the sentence reflected
the concept of economic accessibility. He was not convinced that it was necessary to include
such a reference.
66. Mr. RIEDEL welcomed Mr. Texierâs comment and pointed out that, given the difficulty
of agreeing on a formulation, it might be preferable to omit the reference to economic
accessibility. He rated physical accessibility as the most important element of guaranteeing
labour market accessibility, and while the formulation read out by Mr. Pillay was acceptable, he
was not convinced of its necessity.
67. The CHAIRPERSON said that, in the absence of further comments, she took it that the
Committee accepted Mr. Texierâs proposal to omit the reference to economic accessibility.
68. It was so decided.
69. Mr. SADI said that use of the term âright to research and to be informed ofâ in the first
sentence of paragraph 12 (b) (iii) was confusing, and he therefore proposed its replacement with
the phrase âright to seek and obtain information onâ. He also advocated replacing the term
âinformation networksâ with the term âdata networksâ.
70. Mr. RIEDEL noted that in texts of international instruments it was customary to use the
expression âseek and obtainâ in conjunction with the word âimpartâ. For the sake of consistency
the phrase should thus read âthe right to seek, obtain and impartâ.
71. The CHAIRPERSON said that the word âaccessibilityâ after the colon in
paragraph 12 (b) (iii) was superfluous and should be deleted.
72. Mr. KERDOUN proposed replacing the term âinformation networksâ with the word
73. Mr. KOLOSOV said that principle of freedom of information was generally understood
to include information irrespective of State boundaries. Consequently, the text should mention
the obligation of States to provide access to information networks on employment opportunities
at the international level.
74. Mr. TEXIER said that States could not be obliged to provide such information at the
international level. Any decisions in that regard were the prerogative of the individual State.
75. Mr. CEAUSU said that in paragraph 12 (c) there was no clear link between the heading
âacceptability and qualityâ and the reference to facilities, the workplace and conditions of work
as referred to in the body of the text. Acceptability and quality referred to the conditions of work
offered to employment seekers. For the sake of clarity, it would be advisable to illustrate the
meaning of those concepts by mentioning humiliating types of work, hazardous work conditions
or work that failed to meet the standards of moral acceptability, such as prostitution.
76. Mr. RIEDEL, supported by Mr. MALINVERNI, endorsed Mr. Ceausuâs comment and
said that in the absence of an adequate formulation describing the categories of acceptability and
quality, the paragraph should be deleted. In case it were retained, however, the phrase that read
âincorporates several dimensionsâ should be amended to âhas several componentsâ.
77. Mr. KERDOUN agreed that in order to retain the paragraph on accessibility and quality,
reformulation was necessary. As it stood, the meaning of those concepts was unclear.
78. Ms. THOMAS (International Labour Organization), supported by Mr. RIEDEL, said that
the concepts of quality and acceptability in relation to the right to work were important and
should thus be retained. There was a plethora of examples, which could be formulated in such a
way as to specify the exact meaning of the concepts.
79. Mr. TEXIER said that developing the notions of acceptability and quality would require
taking up examples already referred to under articles 7 and 8. In order to avoid unnecessary
replication and lengthiness, it would be preferable to delete paragraph 12 (c).
80. Ms. BRAS GOMES said that addressing complex notions such as the âacceptabilityâ and
âqualityâ of work in the same paragraph was difficult and further elaboration might thus be
required. However, the notion of acceptability was important and should be included.
81. Mr. PILLAY drew attention to the cross-reference to paragraph 2, which served as an
explanation of the concepts. He proposed the insertion of the following sentence: âThe
Committee has already stated in paragraph 2 of this general comment that protection of the right
to work incorporates several components that are protected by the Covenant in articles 7 and 8,
notably the right of the worker to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work, in
particular to safe working conditions; the right of the worker to join and form trade unions; and
the right of the worker to gain his living through work which he freely chooses or acceptsâ.
82. Paragraph 12, as amended, was adopted.
Special topics of broad application
83. Mr. TEXIER drew attention to the need to change the order of the articles under the
heading in order to reflect accurately the gravity with which different segments of society were
affected by the right to work. When considered in quantitative terms, the category âwomen and
the right to workâ should come first in order of importance.
84. Mr. ATANGANA, supported by Mr. RIEDEL, said that the heading âSpecial topics of
broad applicationâ called for a corresponding subheading under chapter II.
85. Mr. RIEDEL said that the citation in the second sentence of paragraph 13 was identical to
that in general comment No. 5 and as such redundant. In the following sentence, the word
âpartiesâ should be inserted after the word âStatesâ. As it stood, the last sentence was overly
complex and should be either reformulated or deleted.
86. Mr. TEXIER said that young people and the right to work should be ranked relatively
high in order of importance, given that youth unemployment was a serious problem in many
parts of the world.
87. Ms. BRAS GOMES, supported by Mr. TEXIER, said that the category âchildren and the
right to workâ needed to come last in order of importance. According a high level of importance
to children in relation to the right to work might send the wrong message. The first and foremost
right of children was the right to play, and she therefore proposed listing children separately.
88. The CHAIRPERSON said that she took it that the Committee wished to re-order the
paragraphs thus: paragraph 13: women and the right to work; paragraph 14: young people and
the right to work; paragraph 15: migrant workers and the right to work; paragraph 16: persons
with disabilities and the right to work; paragraph 17: older persons and the right to work;
paragraph 18: children and the right to work.
89. It was so decided.
90. Mr. SADI proposed the incorporation in the first sentence of paragraph 13 of the wording
âgeneral comment No. 5 on persons with disabilities, which concludes that the right of
everyoneâ. The word âallowingâ in the third sentence should be replaced by âenablingâ.
91. The CHAIRPERSON said that all occurrences of the term âdisabled personsâ should be
replaced by the term âpersons with disabilitiesâ. For the sake of simplicity, the last sentence
of paragraph 13 should be deleted.
92. Paragraph 13 as amended, was adopted.
93. Mr. TEXIER proposed the deletion of the last sentence in paragraph 14.
94. Mr. MALINVERNI said that, while the reference to the retirement preparation
programmes might be unnecessary, the right of all workers to retirement should be mentioned.
95. Mr. RIEDEL said that in order to retain the reference, significant redrafting would be
necessary. He therefore supported Mr. Texierâs proposal to delete the entire sentence.
96. The CHAIRPERSON said she took it that the Committee accepted the proposal to delete
the last sentence.
97. Paragraph 14, as amended, was adopted.
98. Mr. RIEDEL said that he agreed with the wording of paragraph 15, but suggested that the
second sentence should be incorporated into paragraph 29 as it referred to an obligation that
States parties were required to fulfil.
99. Ms. BRAS GOMES suggested that the second sentence of paragraph 15 should be
amended to read: âStates parties should formulate and implement a comprehensive national
strategy to promote non-discrimination and equality of treatment of women in their right to
100. The CHAIRPERSON said that paragraph 15 should not specify what measures States
parties should take since those had already been included under chapter III, on States partiesâ
obligations, but, rather, should refer to the status of women in terms of the right to work and
should mention the principles of equal pay and equal opportunity for advancement.
Paragraph 15 would be reformulated for subsequent consideration by the Committee.
101. Mr. TEXIER said that the words âa first jobâ in the first sentence should be replaced by
âemploymentâ. The words âand to adequate vocational trainingâ should be added at the end of
the last sentence.
102. Mr. MARCHÃN ROMERO suggested that the first sentence should be amended to read:
âPassage to adulthood and access to a first job constitute an opportunity to exercise an
independent lifestyle and, in many cases, to escape poverty.â
103. Mr. SADI said that paragraph 16 focused unduly on women, and should instead focus on
104. The CHAIRPERSON suggested that the third sentence should be amended to read:
âNational measures to promote and support young persons, in particular young women, would
provide better access to employment.â
105. Mr. RIEDEL suggested that the third sentence should be reworded to read: âNational
measures should exist to promote and support young people, in particular young women, in
access to employment.â That would leave open the question of whether such measures should
be carried out by direct or indirect government action or by private action.
106. Mr. CEAUSU suggested that the second sentence should be deleted from paragraph 16
and its contents incorporated into paragraph 15. The last sentence should be reformulated to
read: âThis opportunity depends to a large extent upon the quality of their vocational training
and the assistance granted to facilitate their access to employmentâ.
107. Ms. THOMAS (International Labour Organization) said that although it was true that
young women had more difficulty than young men in finding jobs, the broader point was that
young persons, in general, had more difficulty than older adults, in obtaining employment. The
words âeducation andâ should be inserted before âvocational trainingâ in Mr. Ceausuâs proposal.
108. Mr. RIEDEL said that he was in favour of retaining the second sentence since the fact
that young women had more difficulty than young men in finding work had been borne out by
the Committeeâs dialogue with States parties.
109. The CHAIRPERSON said that the second sentence should be reformulated to read:
âYoung persons, and in particular young women, had great difficulty in finding employment.â
110. Mr. MALINVERNI said that he agreed with including a reference to young women in the
second sentence; however, the words âin particular young womenâ should be deleted from the
111. Mr. SADI said that the word âpassageâ should be deleted from the first sentence as the
term âpassage to adulthoodâ referred to an imprecise period of time that could span many years.
112. The CHAIRPERSON said that since the subject of the paragraph was young persons,
perhaps the word âadulthoodâ should be removed as well.
113. Mr. RIEDEL said that the passage to adulthood was a crucial period in the life of a young
person and was a concept that should be retained.
114. Mr. TEXIER said that the access to a first job was the more important point to emphasize
and the phrase âpassage to adulthoodâ should be deleted.
115. The CHAIRPERSON, summing up, said that the paragraph should be amended to read:
âAccess to a first job constitutes an opportunity to exercise an independent lifestyle and in many
cases, a means to escape poverty. Young persons, and in particular young women, have greater
difficulty in finding a first job. National measures, such as education and adequate vocational
training, should exist to promote and support young personsâ access to employment.â
116. Ms. BRAS GOMES said she would prefer the phrase âfor economic independenceâ as an
alternative to the phrase âto exercise an independent lifestyleâ.
117. Mr. CEAUSU said that the reference to poverty in the first sentence should be omitted.
The first sentence should be amended to read: âAccess to a first job constitutes an opportunity to
earn oneâs living and to lead an independent life.â
118. Ms. BRAS GOMES, supported by Mr. RIEDEL, said she had understood the sentence to
convey both the idea that a first job could provide both economic independence and an escape
119. Mr. SADI said that to lead an independent economic life was not a right contained in the
120. Mr. MARTYNOV said that the phrase âto earn a decent livingâ would be a better
alternative as it related more closely to the rights provided under the Covenant.
121. Ms. THOMAS (International Labour Organization) agreed with Mr. Martynovâs
122. Paragraph 16, as amended, was adopted.
123. Mr. RIEDEL said that a more authoritative tone was needed in paragraph 17 and that
additional information should be included to explain how migrant workers should be protected
under the Covenant and not only under the other international instruments mentioned.
124. The CHAIRPERSON suggested that the reference to the principle of non-discrimination
in the first sentence should be followed by mention of article 2, paragraph 2, of the Covenant.
125. Mr. RIEDEL said that the Committee should restrict its comments on migrant workers to
what was contained in the Covenant and should clearly indicate that it was for States parties to
decide whether or not to ratify the other instruments mentioned.
126. Ms. BARAHONA RIERA said that the Committee needed to establish general criteria
with regard to migrant workers. She did not see any reason not to mention the International
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their
Families, as such a reference did not imply any obligation on States parties to ratify the
127. Mr. PILLAY suggested that paragraph 17 should be redrafted in such a way as to
emphasize the provisions of the Covenant, while indirectly referring to the wording of ILO
Convention No. 143 concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of
Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers.
128. Mr. SADI said that ILO Convention No. 143 was a broadly accepted instrument to which
the Committee made frequent mention when discussing migrant workers during its consideration
of States partiesâ reports. Since general comments were based on the Committeeâs experience, it
made sense to refer to ILO Convention No. 143 as a guideline.
129. Mr. TEXIER said that the mere fact of citing an ILO convention did not imply that States
parties should ratify it; however, the Committee often recommended to States parties that they
should ratify the principal ILO conventions. He suggested that paragraph 17 should be
reformulated to incorporate the main provisions of ILO Convention No. 143, such as equality of
opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation for persons who were
lawfully within the territory of a State party, with a footnote referring readers to the full text of
ILO Convention No. 143.
130. Mr. WINDFUHR (Foodfirst Information and Action Network) said that there were
two important points to be drawn from ILO Convention No. 143 for the purposes of
paragraph 17: one concerned the fact that migrant workers should not be deprived of the rights
granted other workers and the second concerned the promotion and support of migrant workers
and members of their families. Those could be mentioned either within the context of an
interpretation of article 2, paragraph 2, of the Covenant or as principles taken directly from
ILO Convention No. 143.
131. Mr. RIEDEL said that paragraph 17 should be based primarily on article 2, paragraphs 2
and 3, of the Covenant. The Committee could make use of other international instruments to the
extent that their provisions were relevant to the interpretation of that article. ILO Convention
No. 143 and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers
and Members of Their Families could be referenced in a footnote.
132. Mr. PILLAY suggested the following reformulation of paragraph 17: âThe principle of
non-discrimination and equality of treatment as set forth in articles 2, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the
Covenant should apply in respect of employment and occupation opportunities to migrant
workers and their families who are lawfully within the territory of the State party.â A footnote
could then be added to refer to ILO Convention No. 143.
133. Mr. SADI suggested that the phrase âand guided by ILO Convention No. 143â should be
inserted after reference had been made to the Covenant.
134. Ms. THOMAS (International Labour Organization) said that if paragraph 17 would
eventually contain a general statement based on the Covenant, as opposed to a citation from
ILO Convention No. 143, the phrase âlawfully within its territoryâ should be deleted since the
principle of non-discrimination, in terms of the right to work, applied to all persons, whether
residing lawfully in the country or not.
135. Mr. RIEDEL, recalling the two points mentioned by the representative of FIAN, said that
it was important to include both in paragraph 17.
136. Ms. THOMAS (International Labour Organization) said that the Committee might wish
to consider including a sentence that encouraged States parties to declare and pursue a national
policy designed to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for migrant workers. It could
then include a footnote to refer to relevant international instruments.
137. Mr. RIEDEL said that he endorsed the suggestion made by the representative of ILO.
138. The CHAIRPERSON said that the Committee would defer its consideration of
paragraph 17 to the next meeting.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.