por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
record of the first part of the 9th meeting : Portugal. 04/05/2000.
E/C.12/2000/SR.9. (Summary Record)
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, Twenty-second
session, SUMMARY RECORD OF THE FIRST PART (PUBLIC)* OF THE 9th MEETING
at the Palais Wilson, Geneva, on Monday, 1 May 2000, at 10 a.m.
Chairperson: Mrs. BONOAN-DANDAN
* The summary record of the second part (closed)
of the meeting appears as document E/C.12/2000/SR.9/Add.1.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS:
(a) REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH
ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT (continued)
Third periodic report of Portugal (continued)
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ARISING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS:
(a) REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES IN ACCORDANCE
WITH ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT (agenda item 6) (continued)
Third periodic report of Portugal (E/1994/104/Add.20);
core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.20); country profile (E/C.12/CA/POR.1);
list of issues (E/C.12/Q/POR/1); written replies by the Portuguese
Government (HR/CESCR/NONE/2000/2) (continued)
1. After a discussion in which Mr. WIMER, Mr.
TIKHONOV, Mr. SADI, Mr. TEXIER, Mr. GRISSA, Mr. KOUZNETSOV, Mr.
CEVILLE, Mr. ANTANOVICH, Mr. HUNT, Mr. CEAUSU and Mr. RIEDEL took
part, the CHAIRPERSON read out the note verbale in which the Permanent
Mission of Portugal informed the Committee that the Portuguese delegation
in charge of presenting the report and replying to questions would
not be able to do so, in view of the workload arising from Portugal's
Presidency of the European Union. The Portuguese Government had
therefore requested that consideration of its third periodic report
be postponed to a later date.
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ARISING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
(agenda item 3) (continued)
Draft general comment 14 on the right to the highest attainable
standard of health (art. 12 of the Covenant) (HR/CESCR/2000/NONE/6)
2. Mr. RIEDEL reviewed the main issues raised at an informal meeting
of the working group in charge of preparing the draft general comment
on the right to health, which would be submitted shortly to the
Committee. The key points requiring further consideration or clarification
had been identified in the course of a productive discussion.
3. It had generally been agreed that the right to health should
be better identified in the light of the definition given in other
international instruments, such as the Convention on the Rights
of the Child.
4. Under the normative content of article 12, the suggestion had
been made to specify what was meant by primary, secondary and tertiary
health care. The participants at the meeting had also agreed that
a distinction should be drawn between public health and health care,
concepts which were not always understood in the same way in different
cultures. A general term was therefore needed to cover all possible
interpretations. While it was difficult to give a more specific
definition of the right to health, a preliminary draft had been
prepared at the meeting on the basis of a consensus. Due consideration
had also been given to essential conditions for health, which some
public health specialists referred to as the underlying "determinants
of health", such as access to safe and potable water and adequate
sanitation, adequate supply of food and nutrition and housing.
5. The next topic to be discussed had been States
parties' obligations, which consisted in the first place in taking
steps to ensure progressively the full realization of the right
to health. Among the various obligations, namely to respect, to
protect, to fulfil and to promote, the emphasis should be placed,
as advocated by WHO, on the "obligation to promote", which
entailed ensuring the provision of health services and supporting
people in making informed choices about health.
6. With regard to violations, the question of what acts of commission
or omission constituted violations of the right to health was left
undecided and Committee members would be informed as soon as further
progress had been made on the issue.
7. On the question of limitations, he said that public health issues
were often used by States as grounds for restricting the exercise
of other fundamental rights. As far as the Covenant was concerned,
however, the limitations referred to in relation to public health
were intended not to restrict but to protect fundamental rights,
a point which the draft general comment would emphasize.
8. The group's discussion had continued on special topics of broad
application, including non-discrimination and equal treatment, particularly
with regard to women, children and older persons. It had been agreed
that special measures should be adopted for those categories.
9. Lastly, the group had considered the complex issue of verifiable
benchmarks which could be monitored on a national and international
level, but it appeared that it was still too soon to take such a
system into consideration.
10. Clearly the draft was still open to amendment. He invited members
of the Committee to submit written proposals on any matter they
wished to raise and which had not been discussed during consideration
of the draft.
The public part of the meeting rose at 11.15