JOIN THE CAMPAIGN AND GET INVOLVED!
The NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR is working to ensure the prompt entry into force and implementation of the Optional Protocol. The NGO Coalition is seeking the involvement of organizations and individual partners willing to support the OP process.
Specific Actions That You Can Undertake:
1. ORGANIZE NATIONAL LEVEL EVENTS IN SUPPORT FOR THE SIGNATURE AND/OR RATIFICATION OF THE OP-ICESCR.
The benefits of holding national level events, pressuring governments to sign and ratify the OP depend on the context of each particular country. Events that focus on the ratification process and the implementation of the Optional Protocol at the national level may be organized in countries that have already signed the Optional Protocol. An event may not be necessary where a country has already committed to ratify the OP. In addition, activities to support the signature of the OP are encouraged in countries that have not signed so far and have not expressed any interest on the OP. For some partners, maintaining a low profile in regards to the OP might be more advantageous. On the contrary, in other countries, even a short substantive discussion on the OP might represent the difference in a government's decision to sign the OP.
The Coalition will be keen to support the efforts of organizations in those countries interested in holding national level discussions. At this time, the Coalition can offer support for meetings through:
- Preparation of necessary basic material for the events;
- Coordination of national level events in various countries to ensure a common link and shared output from all the meetings;
- Bringing the results of the meetings to the gathering that will take place in New York; and
- When helpful, aiming to have at least one member of the NGO Coalition Steering Committee present in the national level events.
The specific format and content of the discussion is country-specific, but, for example, it could include the ESCR situation within the country, specific cases of violations that could be addressed by this mechanism, the existing (or lack of existing) remedies within the country, as well as the current political context of the country.
Ideally, the event will include at least one national level authority who can clarify the government's plans for signature (if the country has not signed yet the Optional Protocol) and its position on ratification. The gathering will also offer NGOs the space to identify and discuss the opportunities, challenges and possible steps to advance ratification efforts. The Coalition will also be interested to support substantive discussions that take place after September.
If your organization is interested and able to organize a meeting in coordination with the Coalition, please contact us for more information and a fuller proposal.
2. LOBBY YOUR COUNTRY'S AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE ITS SIGNATURE, FOLLOWED BY PROMPT RATIFICATION OR ACCESSION.
Try to meet with relevant authorities, e.g. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Executive officers, and Congress/Parliaments, to:
- Determine whether the issue of signing the OP in the near future has been discussed by the government, in those countries that have not signed the Protocol. If not, why? For an udated list of signatories click here: http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-3-a&chapter=4&lang=en
- Determine if your government is planning to ratify or accede to the OP. What are the challenges, opportunities and obstacles that they foresee, as well as the expected timeframe for that process? If they are not thinking of ratifying, why not?
- Ask your government to issue a declaration recognizing the competence of the ESCR Committee to handle inquiry and interstate procedures, while ratifying or acceding to the OP.
- Request the nomination of and support for independent ESCR experts for the upcoming election of ESCR Committee members.
If you are participating in an international or regional intergovernmental event, such as the OAS General Assembly or the Human Rights Council, please let us know and raise the above issues with your government's representative and also request that they:
- Sign the OP immediately (if they have not yet done so) and ratify it immediately.
Follow this link for a calendar of some of the events which could be targeted to raise the OP issue with government representatives.
3. SEND US YOUR STORY, TESTIMONY OR THOUGHTS ON HOW THE OP-ICESCR WOULD AFFECT YOUR COMMUNITY OR MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD.
Could the OP bring redress to your community, group or organization for ESCR violations?
Have you used or been involved with other mechanisms of protection with positive results?
If so, please share your story or testimony with us. These would be useful and powerful in our letters, websites or other spaces to strengthen our work and build momentum in favor of the OP.
Please make sure to share with us information about your actions and your government's response at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add information about the petition onto your website and link to it, allowing others to learn about and support the campaign. Also, email this information to your networks and partners, requesting that they do the same.
Become a member of the Coalition to receive updates on the OP as we approach its opening for signatures. Membership is intended for non-government parties and is useful for communication and coordinated efforts. To become a member, please complete this short form and return it to email@example.com.
See some examples of our recent activity as part of the Coalition's ratification campaign.