International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

ICESCR is an international human rights treaty adopted in 1966. The UK agreed to follow ICESCR in 1976. It ensures the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including the rights to:

  • education

  • fair and just conditions of work

  • an adequate standard of living

  • the highest attainable standard of health

  • social security

Human rights tracker

Search our human rights tracker to find all UN recommendations for ICESCR and other treaties. The ICESCR page has specific information on how it is monitored and if the UK is meeting international standards.

How the UK is doing

The UN last examined how well the UK is implementing ICESCR and published its recommendations in July 2016. These included:

  • enhancing the status of socio-economic rights in domestic law and policy

  • providing access to justice and legal aid for disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups

  • taking action to improve access to good-quality, appropriate and accessible housing

  • undertaking a cumulative impact assessment of tax and social security reforms since 2010, and ensuring that all future tax and social security policy reforms are subject to comparative assessments  

  • guaranteeing access to work, and just and favourable working conditions on a non-discriminatory basis

  • providing sufficient resources for the mental health sector to ensure the accessibility, availability and quality of mental health care

  • taking action to reduce educational attainment gaps, particularly among children belonging to low-income families

Our work on ICESCR

The most recent work we have produced as part of our ICESCR monitoring includes:

Last updated: 28 Oct 2019