Individual Complaint Mechanism for Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to Come Into Force
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights welcomes the tenth ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. With this tenth ratification, the Optional Protocol will come into force on 5 May 2013. The ten States Parties to date are Argentina, Spain, Ecuador, Mongolia, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovakia, El Salvador, Portugal and Uruguay. Finland is likely to soon follow. The Optional Protocol creates mechanisms for Individual Complaints as well as State to State complaints and inquiries initiated by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
With the Optional Protocol, the international community comes much closer to treating "human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis" as required by the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights.
The Individual Complaint procedure provides an opportunity for everyone, including those living in poverty and other marginalized groups, to hold States accountable for respecting, protecting and fulfilling economic, social and cultural rights, including the human rights to adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health care and education. This procedure will also provide further clarity on the content on human rights, resulting in greater guidance for governments that seek to implement the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in good faith.
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a member of the ESCR-Net Working Group on Adjudication and its Strategic Litigation Initiative (SLI). The SLI will work with human rights advocates to build capacity to use these new human rights enforcement mechanisms to their fullest, including working to ensure that resulting jurisprudence is informed by the voices of marginalized individuals, groups and communities and reflects progressive human rights ideals.
For more information on the Optional Protocol, and how to get involved with further advocacy around the Optional Protocol, see HERE.