por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
Concluding observations of the
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights : Portugal. 07/06/95.
E/C.12/1995/4. (Concluding Observations/Comments)
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED
BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding observations of the
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1. At its 7th, 8th and 10th meetings, held on
4 and 5 May 1995, the Committee considered the second periodic report
of Portugal concerning rights covered by articles 1-15 of the Covenant
(E/1990/6/Add.6), as well as the written replies to the additional
questions formulated by the pre-sessional working group, and approved
the following observations. At its 27th meeting (twelfth session)
held on 18 May 1995.
2. The Committee expressed great appreciation to the State party
for its comprehensive and detailed report and the substantial additional
information which it communicated by writing, as well as for the
excellent dialogue established between the members of the Committee
and the large delegation of experts, which included a number of
women representing relevant parts of the Portuguese Government.
3. The Committee is most appreciative of the transparent, detailed
and precise manner in which the Portuguese delegation replied to
all its questions, demonstrating the firm determination of the Government
of Portugal to implement all the provisions of the Covenant.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee congratulates Portugal on the numerous constitutional,
legislative and other measures which it has taken to promote the
realization of economic, social and cultural rights as provided
for in the Covenant. It notes with satisfaction the efforts of the
Government to tackle unemployment from various angles, the positive
measures undertaken with regard to the protection of the economic,
social and cultural rights of women, elderly workers and disabled
persons, the increase, both in absolute terms and in proportion
to military expenditures, of public spending on health, the existence
of a non-contributory social security system in parallel with the
general system, and the measures taken to regularize the situation
of clandestine immigrant workers.
5. The Committee welcomes the decision of the Portuguese Government
to ratify International Labour Organization Convention No. 138 concerning
minimum age for admission to employment. It also notes with interest
the raising of the minimum age for access to employment in 1992,
the recent decision to increase the duration of compulsory schooling
to nine years and the various measures taken to combat child labour.
6. The Committee notes with satisfaction the campaigns conducted
against intolerance and racial discrimination, in favour of equality
between the sexes and against child labour. The Committee notes
with interest the training courses on human rights given to law
enforcement and judicial personnel, as also the information campaign
on the Covenant and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
7. The Committee appreciates the efforts being made by the Portuguese
Government to secure from the Government of the People's Republic
of China all possible guarantees regarding respect for the provisions
of the Covenant in the territory of Macao after 1999.
C. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the
8. The Committee notes that Portugal is in a situation of economic
transition and, in certain respects, still has the characteristics
of a developing country, particularly an illiteracy rate which remains
fairly high and an appreciable proportion of the population living
below the poverty line.
D. Main subjects of concern
9. The Committee notes with concern that, despite the existing legislative
provisions and the efforts of the Commission on Equality in Employment,
there is still de facto discrimination against women with regard
to the right to equal treatment at work and the right to equal remuneration.
10. The Committee notes that the increase in the minimum wage has
not kept pace with economic growth in recent years and is concerned
over a tendency for the minimum wage to depreciate.
11. The Committee is also disturbed by the fact that secondary and
higher education enrolment rates are still relatively low compared
to countries with a stage of development comparable to that of Portugal.
Drop-out and failure rates at the secondary and higher levels also
E. Recommendations and suggestions
12. The Committee recommends that the Portuguese authorities should
continue their efforts with a view to ensuring de facto equality
between men and women, particularly in the fields of access to employment
and equal pay for equal work.
13. The Committee recommends that the Government seek to ensure
a gradual increase in the minimum wage, which should take account
of Portugal's economic growth and the inflation rate, with the object
of increasing the purchasing power of those living on the minimum
14. The Committee urges the State party to continue its efforts
to guarantee the right to housing for the most vulnerable groups,
through improved sanitation and rehabilitation of dwellings that
are insanitary or lack minimum basic services.
15. The Committee recommends that the Government take measures with
a view to encouraging registration in secondary and higher education
and to facilitate access to secondary and higher levels of education
of persons from lower income families.