1. The Committee
considered the third periodic report of Denmark on the rights covered
by articles 1 to 15 of the Covenant (E/1994/104/Add.15) at its 11th,
12th and 13th meetings, held on 3 and 4 May 1999, and adopted, at
its 26th meeting (twentieth session) held on 12 May 1999, the following
2. The Committee
expresses its appreciation to the State party for the submission of
its report, which follows the Committee's guidelines regarding both
content and form, and for the comprehensive written answers to its
list of issues. It notes that the information submitted in the report
and that provided by the delegation in reply to both written and oral
questions in the course of the consideration of the report enabled
the Committee to obtain a comprehensive view of Denmark's compliance
with its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee also notes the information
submitted by the Government of Denmark in a core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.58),
as well as the supplementary information submitted in response to
the Committee's request during the consideration of the third periodic
3. The Committee
considers that the dialogue established between the Government of
Denmark and the Committee was very satisfactory. It also welcomes
the participation of an official of the Government of Greenland in
the Danish delegation.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the
4. The Committee
notes the absence of any unsurmountable factors or difficulties preventing
the effective implementation of the Covenant in Denmark.
C. Positive aspects
5. The Committee
notes the high level of achievement by Denmark of its obligations
in respect of the protection of the rights set forth in the Covenant.
It notes with satisfaction that the Government of Denmark pays a great
deal of attention to its activities for the promotion and protection
of economic, social and cultural rights in accordance with the obligations
undertaken under article 2 of the Covenant. The Committee commends
the State party's long tradition of respect for human rights.
6. The Committee
notes the significant degree of autonomy enjoyed by the people of
Greenland, which is evident in the existence of an elected parliament,
with devolved powers over a wide range of issues, inter alia
education, health, taxation, trade, fisheries and hunting. It notes
with appreciation that the culture of the Greenlandic community is
well respected and, in particular, that the indigenous language is
official and consequently may be used in contacts with public bodies
and before the courts.
7. The Committee
expresses its appreciation for the level of services provided to the
population, in relation to social security, health care and education
and for the elderly.
8. The Committee
welcomes the measures taken to promote equality between men and women,
in particular the enactment of the Act on Equal Payment (Act No. 639
of July 1992).
9. The Committee
also welcomes the State party's policies and programmes which have
resulted in the reduction of unemployment.
10. The Committee
acknowledges the social assistance benefits being accorded to refugees,
among them those contained in the Alien Integration Act, which include
provision of temporary housing and other settlement benefits. The
Committee also notes the efforts made by the State party to integrate
foreign workers and their families.
11. The Committee
commends the State party for its regular participation in multilateral
development cooperation programmes, as well as for setting up a number
of bilateral programmes, (for devoting 1 per cent of GDP to those
activities) thus contributing to the realization of economic, social
and cultural rights in other countries.
regard to the promotion of human rights, the Committee commends the
activities of the Danish Centre for Human Rights, such as courses
for civil servants, seminars, courses at universities, the publishing
of books and periodicals, and the provision of advice and information
material to the public at large.
13. The Committee
notes with satisfaction that the State party has set up a committee
with the task of studying the possibility of incorporating the Covenant
in domestic law.
D. Principal subjects of concern
14. The Committee
regrets that the Covenant has not been incorporated in domestic law.
It notes that, although the provisions of the Covenant may be directly
invoked before the courts or referred to by the courts, there is no
case law as yet. In this respect, the Committee expresses concern
that lawyers and judges may not be sufficiently aware that the rights
enshrined in the Covenant may be invoked before the courts.
15. The Committee
is concerned at the information provided that highlights an emerging
trend towards intolerance and violence against members of minority
groups and foreigners in the State party.
16. The Committee
is also concerned that the new Alien Integration Act may have a discriminatory
impact on refugees.
17. The Committee
is concerned that, although equality between men and women is established
in law, it is not fully achieved in practice, in particular in the
field of equal remuneration, and that, in general, women continue
to encounter more obstacles than men in advancing to higher professional
it notes with satisfaction the recent decrease in the percentage of
the population who are unemployed, the Committee is still concerned
that the level of unemployment remains high, especially among young
people, foreign nationals, immigrants and refugees.
19. The Committee
expresses its concern at the recent increase in the school drop-out
rate, which particularly affects children from economically disadvantaged
groups and children belonging to minorities.
20. The Committee
notes with concern the information received with regard to the relatively
high rate of youth suicide in the State party.
21. The Committee
notes with concern the restrictions on the right to strike of teachers
in the public sector, who cannot be considered as constituting an
E. Suggestions and recommendations
22. The Committee
urges the State party to take appropriate steps to give full legal
effect to the Covenant, so that the rights covered by it may be fully
integrated into the legal system.
regard to the emerging trend of violence against minority groups and
foreigners, the Committee recommends that the State party monitor
the situation to combat, effectively, such acts of violence.
24. The Committee
also recommends that the State party carefully monitor the impact
of the new Alien Immigration Act and urges it to take urgent remedial
action if the legislation proves to have a discriminatory effect upon
25. The Committee
encourages the State party to continue in its endeavour to eliminate
the persisting inequality between men and women in relation to equal
wages for work of equal value.
26. The Committee
urges the State party to take all corrective measures to reduce the
level of unemployment of young people, foreign nationals, immigrants
27. The Committee
also draws the attention of the State party to the emerging problem
of school drop-out, which mainly affects children coming from vulnerable
social groups, such as economically disadvantaged children or children
belonging to minorities. In this regard, the Committee recommends
that specific measures be taken to ensure that these children can
complete their studies to the extent of their academic capacities.
28. The Committee
encourages the Government to continue its efforts to combat the problem
of youth suicide and it recommends that statistical data be collected
and that thorough and targeted studies be conducted on the extent,
the causes and the consequences of this problem. The Committee particularly
draws the attention of the authorities to the importance to be given
to detection measures and preventive policies, and encourages them
to continue with their campaigns for the prevention of this phenomenon.
29. The Committee
recommends that the State party take the necessary measures to assure
the right to strike to the teachers in the public sector, since they
do not constitute an essential service.
30. The Committee
emphasizes that further measures should be taken to ensure that the
provisions of the Covenant are more widely disseminated, particularly
among the legal profession and members of the judiciary.
31. The Committee
recommends that the concerns expressed in the present concluding observations,
as well as the issues raised during the discussion of the third periodic
report which remain unanswered, inter alia regarding the question
of devolution of responsibility to the Faeroes Islands, should be
addressed in the State party's fourth periodic report.
32. The Committee
wishes to receive from the State party any reactions it or any other
State authorities may have with respect to the present concluding
33. The Committee
requests the State party to disseminate the present concluding observations
widely at all levels of society and to inform the Committee on all
steps taken to implement them.