Documents menu

Date: Fri, 23 May 97 17:33:49 CDT
From: rich%pencil@cmsa.Berkeley.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Press Release From UN Committee On Rights Violations
/** headlines: 178.0 **/
** Topic: Press Release From UN Committee On Rights Violations **
** Written 6:12 PM May 22, 1997 by econet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 11:03 AM May 21, 1997 by in env.siberia */

/* ---------- "UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights" ----- */

Press Release

From the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 21 May 1997

Dear Friends,

Below you find excerpts from a press-release by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in which it has i.a. expressed its concern about economic rights violations against indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, especially those living in regions of oil and gas exploitation. This is partly due to a report that FIAN, the international NGO for the Human Right to Feed Oneself and INFOE, the Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology have submitted recently to the Committee. The report can be retreived via Internet at


16 May 1997


Issues Recommendations on Reports of Zimbabwe, Russian Federation, Peru and Libya

The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights ended its three-week Spring meeting in Geneva this afternoon by announcing conclusions and recommendations on reports made to it by Zimbabwe, Russian Federation, Peru and Libya.


Conclusions and Recommendations on Country Reports


In respect of the report of the Russian Federation, the Committee expressed its concern at the situation of the indigenous peoples of the State party, many of whom live in poverty, had inadequate access to food supplies, and some of whom suffer from malnutrition; it recommended that action be taken to protect them from exploitation by oil and gas companies. The Committee expressed concern at the significant level of domestic violence against women and the hesitation of the police to intervene to protect them. The development of poverty, estimated to affect at least 30 percent of the population, and the inability of the State party to provide adequate social services and a reasonable subsistence-level revenue to those persons was of serious concern to the Committee. It recommended that immediate steps be taken to ensure the payment of wages by both the State and private enterprises, and to punish those who had illegally used those funds for other purposes; that the Government take immediate action to improve the conditions of detention in prisons at all levels; that the Government address the eightfold increase in HIV infection in 1996 as a health question of the upmost importance; and that stronger and more effective measures be adopted in order to reinforce the educational system, reduce the school dropouts and enhance the protection of children against illegal employment and other abuses.


General Comment on Adequate Housing and Forced Evictions

In a "general comment" (future document E/C.12/1997/4), meant to guide States in applying provisions of the Covenant, the Committee observed that women, children, youth, older persons, ethnic and other minorities, and other vulnerable individuals and groups all suffer disproportionately from the practice of forced evictions. Women in all groups are especially vulnerable given the extent of statutory and other form of discrimination which often apply in relation to property rights (including home ownership) or rights of access to property or accommodation and their particular vulnerability to acts of violence and sexual abuse when they are rendered homeless. The non-discrimination provisions of articles 2 (2) and 3 of the Covenant impose an additional obligation upon governments to ensure that, where evictions do occur, appropriate measures are taken to ensure that no forms of discrimination are involved. Where some evictions may be justifiable, such as in the case of the persistent non-payment of rent or of damage to rented property without any reasonable cause, it is incumbent upon the relevant authorities to ensure that those evictions are carried out in a manner warranted by a law which is compatible with the Covenant. Forced evictions and house demolitions as a punitive measures are also inconsistent with the norms of the Covenant. States parties shall ensure, prior to carrying out any evictions, and particularly those involving large groups, that all feasible alternatives are explored in consultation with affected persons, with a view to avoiding, or at least minimizing the need to use force.

Evictions should not result in rendering individuals homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights, the comment goes on. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available.

The Committee also writes, that it is aware that various development projects financed by international agencies within the territories of State Parties have resulted in forced evictions. In this regard, the Committee recalls its General Comment No. 2 (1990) which states, among other things, that international agencies should scrupulously avoid involvement in projects which, for example promote or reinforce discrimination against individuals or groups contrary tot the provisions of the Covenant, or involve large-scale evictions or displacements of persons without the provision of all appropriate protection and compensation.


United Nations Information Service at Geneva Press Releases are available on the Internet at the following address:


infoe e.V., Melchiorstr. 3,
D-50670 Cologne, Germany
Tel./Fax: ++49-221-739 28 71