Instructor: Mba Mbulu Course Outline
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Title of Course: International Law 101 [Audio Version]
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was agreed to in 1966. Click Here to find the Articles and Sections most relevant to Black People. Click Here to find Explanatory Notes as to its relevance to the struggle of Black People for self-government. Read all of the available information and be able to expound on the following questions and issues.
(1) In Article #1 below, the term freely is used. Think about that term. Can Black People in the United States freely oppose the practices of the United States?
(2) Can Black People freely attempt to establish political, economic and educational alternatives to the institutions that control the United States?
(3) Are Black People enjoying the favourable conditions that are addressed in Article 7 below?
(4) According to Article 11 below, as a member state of the United Nations, what are the obligations of the United States in regard to Black People?
(5) Do you know the difference between being educated and being schooled? Which, if either, is being directed toward Black People in the United States, and with what results?
(1) All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
(3) The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right to self- determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:
(a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:
(i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;
(ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;
(b) Safe and healthy working conditions;
(c) Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
(d) Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.
(1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international cooperation based on free consent.
(2) The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take, individually and through international co-operation, the measures, including specific programmes, which are needed:
(a) To improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources;
(b) Taking into account the problems of both food-importing and food- exporting countries, to ensure the equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need.
(1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
(1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(2) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, with a view to achieving the full realization of this right:
(a) Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;
(c) Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;
(d) Fundamental education shall be encouraged or intensified as far as possible for those persons who have not received or completed the whole period of their primary education;
(e) The development of a system of schools at all levels shall be actively pursued, an adequate fellowship system shall be established, and the material conditions of teaching staff shall be continuously improved.
(3) The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
Article 1 states that all peoples have the right of self-determination and can determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Self-determination is not a privilege, it is a right that every group of people have. Even if the struggle of Black People in this country were founded on a less substantial foundation, We could still demand to govern Ourselves and be within Our rights. But, Our demands are buttressed by one of the strongest arguments possible. We were militarily attacked, kidnapped and forcefully brought to this country, classified as chattel and worked against Our will without a semblance of reasonable compensation, raped, castrated, lynched and intimidated and, after all of that, denied the right to govern Ourselves after We had freed Ourselves from slavery. White america, indeed, committed one of the most heinous crimes in the history of humankind against Us, Black People.
We still have the right to determine Our political status and freely pursue economic, social and cultural developmental paths that will benefit Us as a race of people and better enable Us to contribute to the betterment of all peoples, wherever they may be. The law is on Our side. We must take advantage of the opportunities the law has made available to Us.
The other articles and sections mentioned above demonstrate the extent to which Black People have been shortchanged by white America, and should make the reader aware of the fact that the United States knows it has mistreated and misinformed Black People, is obligated by international law to right the wrongs they have committed against Us, and is breaking the law by failing to do so. The United States is not looking out for the well being of Black People. That is further reason for Us, Black People, to establish an independent nation and govern Ourselves.
Please review this information and give it some additional thought.