We have good news to share. The Council of Ministers of Belgium has approved the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. Once Belgium concludes the ratification process it would be the 11th country to have done so, joining Ecuador, Mongolia, Spain, El Salvador, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Portugal and Uruguay.
Below is a press release of the Council, where the announcement of the approval is made.
Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
By Sarah Delafortrie Christophe Springael
Posted on 07/06/2013
By the Council of Ministers on June 7, 2013
From the proposal by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, the Cabinet approved a draft law ratifying the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Optional Protocol establishes a right of individuals or groups of individuals to submit complaints about violations of the rights contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights after exhausting national procedures. It also provides, in the event that the State explicitly recognizes, a mechanism for commission of inquiry into cases of gross or systematic violations of these rights, and a system of inter-state complaints.
The protocol is of great importance, as it will:
• increase observance of economic, social and cultural rights;
• clarify the obligations of States Parties on the implementation of the rights contained in the Covenant, and help the development of case law in the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the future
• generate additional motivation to strengthen national mechanisms for the implementation of these rights;
• increase the participation of civil society and individuals in relation to the implementation of these rights;
• heighten public awareness on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.