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Former Indian diplomat Preeti Saran elected to UN's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Jagran Josh English 2018-12-07 13:33:00

A former senior Indian diplomat, Preeti Saran was on December 6, 2018 elected unopposed to an Asia Pacific seat on the United Nation's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).

The UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Saran to the 18-member committee ‘CESCR’ for a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2019.

Saran will begin her term at CESCR after another former Indian diplomat Chandrashekhar Dasgupta completes his third term on the CESCR by the end of December 2018.

In November 2018, India nominated Saran for the Asia Pacific seat on the Council. Her nomination was circulated to UN members by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on November 23, paving the way for election.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)

The CESCR was set up in 1985 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.

It was constituted with an aim to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), which has been ratified by 169 countries.

The countries that are parties to the covenant are required to submit reports to the CESCR every five years on how they protect the economic, social and cultural rights.

The committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of concluding observations.

The Members of the CESCR serve in their personal capacities as experts and do not represent their countries even though they may be nominated by their own nation.

The CECSR meets in Geneva and holds two sessions per year, consisting of a three-week plenary and a one-week pre-sessional working group.


Earlier in April 2018, when the rotating elections for the CESCR were held, Heisoo Shin of South Korea was re-elected but the Asia Pacific Region did not have a nominee for the second seat, leading to the postponement of the election for it.

Any country from the Asian Pacific group was free to put up a candidate for that seat, however, none did. Thus, the seat was reverted to India.

The other Asian member is Shiqiu Chen of China, whose term ends in 2022.

Saran's election will boost gender balance on the Committee

With Saran's election, there will now be 6 women on the 18-member panel, which has been criticised for having only five women.

An international NGO ‘Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’, which monitors the CESCR, had commented earlier that the gender balance on the Committee remains poor and States should be concerned about this gender imbalance.

About Preeti Saran

  • Saran is the Indian Foreign Service Officer of 1982 batch.
  • During her 36-year diplomatic career, Saran served as the Consul General of India at Toronto and the as Indian Ambassador to Vietnam.
  • She also served in Indian missions at Moscow, Dhaka and Geneva.
  • As a Secretary in the Union Foreign Ministry, she was responsible for policy formulation of India’s relations with countries in East Asia, South East Asia, Canada and Latin America and the Caribbean region.
  • At the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, Saran held wide ranging responsibilities, including supervision of the work relating to Counter Terrorism, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, SAARC, and parliament.
  • Saran had retired from the foreign services in September 2018.