IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT

ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit herewith the thirty-first report of the International Labour Organization under article 18 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, submitted in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1988(LX)*.

 

[23 April 2003]

 

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*Reproduced as received



Introduction

The present report has been established according to the arrangements approved by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office 1 to give effect to resolution 1988 (LX) of 11 May 1976 of the United Nations Economic and Social Council requesting specialized agencies to submit reports, in accordance with article 18 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, on the progress made in achieving the observance of the provisions of the Covenant falling within the scope of their activities. According to these arrangements, the International Labour Office is entrusted with the task of communicating to the United Nations, for presentation to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, information on the results of the operation of various ILO supervisory procedures in the fields covered by the Covenant. It should remain open for the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations to report on particular situations whenever it deems this desirable or when specifically requested to do so by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This report will follow the approach adopted since 1985, and will contain: (a) indications concerning the principal ILO Conventions relevant to articles 6-10 and 13 of the Covenant; and (b) indications concerning ratification of these Conventions and comments made by ILO supervisory bodies with regard to the application of these Conventions by the States concerned (insofar as the points at issue appear to have a bearing also on the provisions of the Covenant). The latter indications are based mainly on the comments of the Committee of Experts resulting from its examination of the reports on the Conventions in question. Account was also taken of the conclusions and recommendations adopted under constitutional procedures for the examination of representations or complaints and, in the case of article 8 of the Covenant, of the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO Governing Body following examination of complaints alleging violation of trade union rights. Given the increased recourse to the Joint ILO/UNESCO allegations procedure concerning teaching personnel, information on cases examined there are added under article 13 of the Covenant, when relevant to the country reports being examined. 2

The list of countries for which information has been provided in the present report appears in the Contents. A recapitulatory list of States parties to the Covenant and of ILO reports containing information concerning them will be found in the Annex.

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II.  INDICATIONS CONCERNING THE SITUATION OF INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES

For each article of the Covenant under consideration, these indications show the state of the ratification of the corresponding Conventions by the country in question, and references to the relevant comments of the supervisory bodies with regard to the application of these Conventions. Full copies of the comments of the Committee of Experts are available at the secretariat (in English, French and Spanish) and should be consulted for further details.

The absence of any such reference signifies either that there are no comments at the present time regarding the application of a particular Convention, or that the comments that have been made deal with points not relating to the provisions of the Covenant or to matters (for example, simple requests for information) which it would not appear to be necessary to deal with at this stage, or again that the Government’s reply concerning the application of a Convention on which comments had been made has not yet been examined by the Committee of Experts.

When references are made to the “observation” of the Committee of Experts, their texts are published in the report of the Committee for the same year (Report III (Part 1A) of the corresponding session of the International Labour Conference). In addition, comments have been formulated in requests for information addressed directly by the Committee of Experts to the Governments in question; such comments are not published but the text is made available to the interested parties.


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C. Israel

Information on Israel has been previously submitted to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1998.

The following relevant Conventions have been ratified and are in force for Israel (for full names see the list of Conventions in Part I above): 1, 14, 19, 20, 29, 30, 48, 77, 78, 79, 81, 87, 88, 90, 98, 100, 101, 102, 105, 106, 111, 116, 117, 118, 122, 136, 138, 141, and 142.

Article 6

In its 2001 observation on Convention No. 111, the Committee of Experts noted the amendments made in April 2000 to the Equal Rights for Women Act of 1951. It noted with interest new section 1B, paragraph 2 on affirmative action, which provides that any provision or act which is designed to rectify a former or existing discrimination against women, or a provision or act which is designated for the advancement of the equality of women shall not be regarded as an infringement of equality or unlawful discrimination. It further noted that in any public body, there should be proper representation of women in the various types of posts and grading (section 6C(a)). In cases of similar qualification of candidates of both sexes, affirmative action shall be taken in favour of the female candidate wherever this is necessary to implement this provision.

In its 2001 direct request on Convention No. 111, the Committee of Experts noted the general trend of declining labour force participation by Israeli men (Jews and non-Jews alike) coupled with increasing participation by Jewish women. It also noted that labour force participation of Arab Israeli women had not changed much, from 13.5 per cent in 1995 to 13.4 per cent in 1999. The Committee noted from the report the special measures taken by the Government to enhance the access of employment of ultra-orthodox Jewish women and Arab women, including the training programmes under the Bureau of Training and Workforce Development in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In addition, the Unit for the Advancement of Women and Girls, established within the Division for Training and Development of the Ministry of Labour and Welfare, organized workshops for Jewish women and two for Arab women within the project on reduction of women’s poverty through employment in 2001. The Committee noted that the Government plans to assess the success of these programmes over the next two years.

The Committee noted that the labour force participation rate of members of the Muslim and Druze communities had decreased from 40.1 per cent in 1995 to 38.4 per cent in 1999 and that final conclusions and statistics concerning vocational training programmes for minority groups were not yet available. It also noted the decision taken in October 2000 by the Government regarding a multi-year plan for development of Arab Sector Communities according to which the Government of Israel regards itself obligated to act to grant equal and fair conditions to Israeli Arabs in the socio-economic sphere, in particular in the areas of education, housing and employment.

The Committee noted with interest the promulgation of the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law in 1998 which contains the general prohibition of discrimination of persons in employment because of their disability and that section 3 of the Law provides that any act intended to correct previous or present discrimination against persons with disabilities, or which is intended to promote the equality of persons with disabilities, shall not be deemed to be prohibited discrimination.

Article 8

In its 2001 direct request on Convention No. 98, the Committee of Experts noted with interest the entry into force, on 1 January 2001, of Amendment No. 6 to the Collective Agreements Law, 5727-1957, which reinforces the rights of workers’ organizations as regards entry in the workplace for the purpose of promoting the right to organize or the interests of workers, and extends the protection granted to workers in connection with the right to organize.

The Committee of Experts furthermore addressed direct requests to the Government in 2001 on Conventions Nos. 77, 81, and 122, and in 2002 on Conventions No. 100, 105 and 118.

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Notes

1Decisions of the Governing Body at its 201st session (November 1976) and at its 236th session (May 1987).

2Information on the procedures and machinery for the implementation of ILO standards, including the operation of its supervisory bodies, can be found in United Nations Action in the Field of Human Rights (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.94.XIV.11), chap. II, sect. C.1.  Further information can be found on the ILO’s Internet website at www.ilo.org.