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U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights


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This covenant describes the basic economic, social, and cultural rights of individuals and nations, including the right to:

wages sufficient to support a minimum standard of living
equal pay for equal work
equal opportunity for advancement
form trade unions
paid or otherwise compensated maternity leave
free primary education, and accessible education at all levels
copyright, patent, and trademark protection for intellectual property

In addition, this convention forbids exploitation of children, and requires all nations to cooperate to end world hunger. Each nation which has ratified this covenant is required to submit annual reports on its progress in providing for these rights to the Secretary General, who is to transmit  them to the Economic and Social Council.

The text of this covenant was finalized in 1966 along with that of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but has not been ratified yet.

The full document may be found at


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© 2000, August

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