ESCR-Net Members Address UN Committee on it's Opening of its Current 2020 Session

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

"For too long, brutal and illegal evictions have been terrorizing communities, even during a pandemic that requires us to stay at home for public health reasons. We therefore demand an end to all evictions in our cities. We demand an end to all land dispossession, utilities cut offs and related attacks on the poor." - S’bu Zikode 

On Wednesday, 30 September 2020, S’bu Zikode, President of Abahlali baseMjondolo and ESCR-Net Board Member, delivered a forceful denunciation of intensifying violations to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), during the opening of their virtual sessions. S’bu Zikode was accompanied by ESCR-Net members Abahlali baseMjondolo, Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), and Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) in addressing the United Nations. The participants brought forward perspectives from civil society touching on a range of issues of concern for the Committee.

Binota Moy Dhamai AIPP Executive Council Member and ESCR-Net Board Member, emphasized in his statement:

"We are calling for respecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent, as well as meaningful participation of broader communities. Furthermore, it is very important to protect the human rights relating to land, territories and resources of Indigenous Peoples and other local land dependent communities, which are under increasing threat, particularly in the COVID context, where governments can act more easily with impunity. These rights are interlinked with the enjoyment of many other rights, and critically important in combating the climate crisis." - Binota Moy Dhamai

Lucy McKernan (member of the ESCR-Net Strategic Litigation Working Group Steering Committee) and her colleagues at GI-ESCR played a central role in organizing this event.  In her remarks, she:

congratulat[ed] the Committee on its important and timely Statement on economic, social and cultural rights and the COVID-19 pandemic...[and highlighted] a joint civil society letter urging the Treaty Bodies and their Secretariats to begin scheduling State reviews no later than 2021, and if necessary, take a pragmatic approach which allows online State reviews on a temporary and exceptional basis.

The CESCR opening session provided an important opportunity for members to present their perspectives based on their lived experience and resistance and to raise collective member demands from the Global Call to Action.