Social and Cultural Rights.
Article 5(e)(i) guarantees equality and non-discrimination with regard
to the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and
favorable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to
equal pay for equal work, and to just and favorable remuneration. As a
matter of law and regulation, this obligation is met; in practice,
however, significant disparities continue. The sources or causes of
socio-economic differences are complex and depend on a combination of
societal conditions, such as the state of the national and local
economies, continued racial and ethnic discrimination in education and
employment, and individual characteristics, such as educational
background, occupational experiences, and family background.
narrowing of economic status among various racial and ethnic groups has
occurred in recent years, substantial gaps persist. For example, in 1998
the median incomes of White non-Hispanic households and of Asian and
Pacific Islander households ($42,400 and $46,600, respectively) were
much higher than those of Black and Hispanic households ($25,400 and
$28,300, respectively). By one 1993 measure, the median wealth (net
worth) of White households was nearly 10 times that of Black and
Hispanic households. In 1998, the poverty rate among Blacks (26.1
percent) was more than triple the poverty rate of White non-Hispanics
(8.2 percent). The poverty rate among Hispanics (25.6 percent) was not
statistically different from that of Blacks. According to data from the
1990 decennial census, the poverty rate for American Indians, Eskimos
and Aleuts was 30.9 percent in 1989. In the same year, the poverty rate
was 9.8 percent for Whites, 29.5 percent for Blacks, and 14.1 percent
for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
pervasiveness of child poverty is of particular concern. Since 1993,
poverty rates for children under 18 years within the United States have
fallen, but differences among racial and ethnic groups remain high.
Between 1993 and 1998, the poverty rate for White children fell 2.7
percentage points to 15.1 percent. The rate for Black children fell even
more, from 46.1 percent to 36.7 percent, but was still twice as high as
the rate for White children. The rate for Hispanic children fell from
40.9 percent in 1993 to 34.4 percent in 1998, but was not statistically
different from the rate for Black children in 1998. By comparison, the
rate for Asian and Pacific Islander children in 1998 was 18.0 percent,
not statistically different from the rate for White children, and the
same as in 1993 (18.2 percent).
In 1989, the
poverty rate for American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut children was 38.3
6]. In the same year, the poverty rate was 12.1
percent for White children, 39.5 percent for Black children, and 16.7
percent for Asian and Pacific Islander children.
has been an unmistakable increase in inequality both overall and among
racial and economic groups in the United States since the mid-1970's,
some trends indicate movement toward greater economic equality. As a
result of fiscal discipline, investments in the American people, and
increased trade, the United States is in the midst of the longest
economic expansion in its history. The unemployment rate for Blacks has
fallen from an average of 14.2 percent in 1992 to an average of 7.7
percent in 2000 - the lowest rate on record. Since 1993, the poverty
rate for Blacks has dropped from 33.1 percent to 26.1 percent in 1998 -
another record low. Also, the unemployment rate for Hispanics has
dropped from an average of 11.6 percent in 1992 to an average of 5.8
percent in 2000; and the poverty rate for Hispanics as fallen to 25.6
percent, the lowest since 1979.
regard to other social and cultural rights, as the percentage of
immigrants living in the United States has increased in recent years,
larger numbers of individuals primarily speak languages other than
English. While the number of individuals who speak or understand English
and another language is also increasing, this diversity in languages has
been met with calls for official language policies or legislation that
requires that only English be spoken in the workplace. The present
administration has taken the position that an "Official
English" law would effectively exclude Americans who are not fully
proficient in English from employment, voting, and equal participation
in society and be subject to serious constitutional challenge.
(Statement of Administration Policy, H.R. 123, 104th Congress).