Manual - Claiming ESCR at the United Nations

Publish Date: 
Monday, April 21, 2014

The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has launched the new publication "Claiming ESCR at the United Nations: a manual on utilizing the OP-ICESCR in strategic litigation". This project emerges from the collective efforts of the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group and benefits from its close connections to the NGO Campaign for the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. 

The objective of this manual is to provide theoretical and practical information for lawyers and other advocates interested in utilizing the OP-ICESCR as a means to enforce economic, social and cultural rights. A related aim of this manual is to contribute to the growing network of advocates using strategic litigation to advance ESC rights protections, by supporting ongoing exchange and collaboration. The manual is available in English here and in Spanish here

ESCR-Net is grateful to the following individuals for their contributions to this report, as lead authors: Bret Thiele, from Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Julieta Rossi, Professor at the Universities of Buenos Aires, Lanús y Palermo (Argentina).  ESCR-Net also expresses its appreciation to the following individuals for substantive comments and editorial input: Bruce Porter, The Social Rights Advocacy Centre (Canada), and Viviana Krsticevic, Center for Justice and International Law.

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Optional Protocol or OP-ICESCR) entered into force on 5 May 2013. 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. In particular, the OP-ICESCR creates a mechanism whereby rights holders can submit complaints of violations of any of their economic, social and cultural rights and hold States accountable to their obligations under the Covenant to respect, protect, and fulfill Covenant rights, including the human rights to adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health care, education and social security. This procedure will also provide further clarity on the content of human rights in different contexts, resulting in greater guidance for governments that seek to implement the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Covenant or ICESCR) in good faith.