Case studies on the implementation of UN treaty body decisions, with a focus on CECSR’s follow-up procedure

The human rights decisions issued at the international UN treaty body level represent important precedents for all jurisdictions around the world, as they provide authoritative guidance about how states can comply in practice with their obligations under the key international human rights treaties. In 2017, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) released its working methods concerning the Committee’s follow-up to Views under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This provided a significant step by CESCR to strengthen its engagement in case implementation and represents an important and public opportunity for greater direct participation by affected communities and civil society more broadly in the monitoring and implementation of ESCR decisions. Within six months following a decision, states are required to report on the steps they have taken to comply with CESCR recommendations. Claimants, civil society organizations and National Human Rights Institutions may then also give CESCR their views and suggestions on implementation. CESCR assesses the information provided, continues a dialogue with the state and may make the submissions available on its website to increase transparency around implementation.

The SLWG focuses on implementation of certain CESCR decisions as a way to highlight significant and widespread ESCR violations, and to connect specific cases to global patterns of injustice and human rights-based approaches to change. To understand how CESCR’s working methods operate in practice, and to gain experience which can be used to inform further recommendations to CESCR as well as other UN treaty bodies (building on the SLWG’s 2017 proposals on implementation), the SLWG – in collaboration with ESCR-Net’s Monitoring Working Group –  worked collectively on implementation of the following CESCR decision: