The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) consists of 18 independent experts charged with monitoring how well governments are implementing their obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee reviews reports from State Parties - governments who have signed and ratified the treaty - on a regular basis through a dedicated review process that takes into account inputs from civil society, human rights defenders and other stakeholders.
For China and Hong Kong, this process began in early 2021 - but culminated only at the 73rd session of the CESCR in February 2023. The outcome of the official meetings, also known as the 'Concluding Observations', provides comments about what the experts heard and recommendations for the Chinese government, and in some cases the Hong Kong authorities. In the 'Concluding Observations', UN experts from the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights released a laundry list of worries about protection of rights in the country. In the interest of simplifying this document and drawing attention to the ways in which civil society can continue to engage on this issue long after the review itself has concluded, ISHR has developed a 'Cliff's Notes' version.
Download our explainer, in English, Chinese (simplified) or Spanish, to learn more about key recommendations and how civil society can use them to assist documentation and advance change.