Preeti Saran’s Election to CESCR

Former Indian diplomat Preeti Saran was elected unopposed for the Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR).

Even though the members are nominated by the nations, the members of the CESCR serve in their personal capacities as experts and do not represent their countries.

Significance of the election:

  • The election of Preeti Saran will add a woman to CESCR, which has been criticised for having only five women on the 18-member panel.
  • The Indian received 188 votes in the 193-member General Assembly, the highest number polled by any of the contestants. This is a morale booster for India at a time when it has put its candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat for the year 2021-22.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)

The committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties. The committee was established under the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and it came into effect from 3 January 1976.
  • The covenant commits its parties to work toward the granting of economic, social, and cultural rights(ESCR) to the non-self-governing and trust territories and individuals, including labour rights and the right to health, the right to education, and the right to an adequate standard of living. As of September 2018, the Covenant has 169 parties.
  • The Covenant has 31 articles divided into five parts. The ICESCR is part of of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations established by the UN Charterin 1946.
  • ECOSOC is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.
  • ECOSOC also serves as the central mechanism for the activities of the United Nations system and its specialized agencies, and supervises the subsidiary and expert bodies in the economic, social and environmental fields.

The election of India was by acclamation was a hallmark of India’s emergence as the Global powerhouse.

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