Optional Protocol to UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Call For - Need For - Countries/UN Member States Signatures

NGO Advocacy Request




Via IWRAW Asic Pacific


As you would know, the Optional Protocol to the Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP ICESCR) has been adopted. However there is still some way to go before it becomes an instrument women can use to promote and protect their rights. On 24 September 2009, the OP ICESCR opens for signature by States. The OP ICESCR can only come into force if enough States sign it.

You can help to make this happen by contacting your government and pushing them to sign the OP ICESCR in September.

Additional information in French and Spanish is available from

IWRAW Asia Pacific. iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org

We hope that you can help to bring the OP ICESCR into force and make it an effective instrument for women.



UN Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Adopted by the UN General Assembly -  10 December 2008:




International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:





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To: WUNRN ListServe

Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:10 AM

Subject: Optional Protocol to Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights Adopted by UN Human Rights Council





The Optional Protocol to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, will make it possible for individual, groups or organizations acting on their behalf to seek justice at the international level for violations of economic, social and cultural rights by submitting complaints to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The adoption of the Optional Protocol also provides support to efforts to get greater recognition of economic, social and cultural rights in domestic law and before courts, and will strengthen our monitoring role, as civil society organizations. The NGO Coalition for the Optional Protocol Steering Committee








18 June 2008

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today congratulated the Human Rights Council on its adoption of an important new human rights instrument to strengthen the protection of economic, social and cultural rights.

“This is a highly significant achievement”, she said. “The Protocol will provide an important platform to expose abuses that are often linked to poverty, discrimination and neglect, and that victims frequently endure in silence and helplessness. It will provide a way for individuals, who may otherwise be isolated and powerless, to make the international community aware of their situation.”

The Optional Protocol will allow persons to petition an international human rights body about violations of rights guaranteed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Adopted by the Human Rights Council on 18 June, the Protocol is expected to get the final approval by the United Nations General Assembly later this year. Thereafter, the Protocol will enter into force once it has been ratified by 10 States.

“Since the adoption of the two core international human rights covenants in 1966, the lack of a complaint procedure for economic, social and cultural rights has been a missing piece in the international human rights protection system" Arbour said. "As we are celebrating the 60-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Optional Protocol reaffirms our commitment to a unified and comprehensive vision of human rights, sending a strong, unequivocal message about the equal value and importance of all human rights.”

With its adoption of the Optional Protocol, the Human Rights Council brings to fruition a process set in motion by the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights prompting the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights to prepare a first draft optional protocol in 1996 and leading to the commencement of intergovernmental negotiations in 2004.

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