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Around every five years the UK is examined to see how well people in the UK are able to enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights. The most recent review took place in 2016 – you can read our submission. This means that another review is due – but the necessary report has not yet been submitted to the UN.

For more background on the review, read our explainer.

We have been working with over 30 civil society organisations from across the UK in advance of the next review, including Amnesty International UK, Human Rights Consortium Scotland, Engender, CAJ and UNISON. As part of this, we jointly wrote to the UK Government in December 2021 about delays to the review process. We have now received a response to our joint letter, which cites the pandemic as the reason for the delays. We note that the UK had five years’ notice of the original deadline for the submission of their report.

Since we wrote, we have learned that a further delay to the submission of the UK Government’s report means the review process has been pushed back again. This will have consequences for the scrutiny of economic, social, and cultural rights in the UK, which have been particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic – for an example, take a look at our response to the national Resilience Strategy call for evidence. 

We have created an updated (provisional) timetable of the cycle (see below) and will continue to work with partners across the UK to hold the UK Government to account on economic, social and cultural rights.

If you would like to get involved in the review, or hear more, get in touch with our Head of Policy, Research and Campaigns at [email protected]. You can also sign up to our newsletter.

Timeline: The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights review 1 May 2022 State party report - The UK Government submits its ‘State party report’ – explaining to the Committee how it’s achieving rights in the Covenant. 2 June 2022 - 9 Jan 2023 Parallel report to pre-sessional working group (PSWG) – Civil society groups can send in a report to the Committee on how they believe the UK Government is achieving rights in the Covenant. 3 6-10 March 2023 PSWG - A number of members of the Committee meet in Geneva to develop a ‘list of issues’ that they want more information on from the UK Government. 4 At least 3 months before the review Response to the list of issues – UK Government sends a written report on the issues the Committee asked about. 5 Predicted deadline – 13 January 2025 Parallel/shadow report – civil society groups submit an updated report to the Committee on the achievement of rights in the Covenant. 6 Predicted February 2025 ‘The Review’ – Over 2 days in Geneva the Committee examines all the evidence it has received, including from the UK Government, civil society and other, It questions the UK Government and civil society can give informal oral evidence. 7 About a month after the review Concluding Observations – The Committee produces a report with a series of recommendations for the UK on how it could better achieve rights in the Covenant.

Background image by Safwat Saleem.