ESCR-Net's Strategic Litigation Working Group publishes new commentary on the OP-ICESCR

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ESCR-Net's Strategic Litigation Working Group (formerly Adjudication Working Group) is publishing a new commentary on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR). This new commentary aims to address the need for scholarly research, reasoned argument, consistent interpretation and creative approaches to adjudication under the new OP-ICESCR to ensure that its promise and purpose is fully realised.

As explained in the book's preface, "the origins of this commentary lie partly in a meeting of advocates in the Strategic Litigation Working Group (SLWG). At its meeting in Nairobi in December 2008, the group contemplated the anticipated adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Internatinal Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) by the UN General Assembly later that year. This would mark the end of a long struggle for the recognition of the equal status of ESC rights and the equal rights of victims of violations to access to justice at the international level. Many members of ESCR-Net had been involved in the campaign and in the negotiation of the text of the OP-ICESCR. The SLWG recognized that the adoption of the OP-ICESCR was only a beginning and that the real challenges lay ahead. The OP-ICESCR was essentially an empty vessel. Its ultimate significance and effectiveness will depend on the quality of petitions and the involvement of a range of advocates and organizations, the ways in which the OP and the substantive rights being claimed are interpreted and applied and the extent to which recommended remedies are implemented. [With] generous support from the Ford Foundation, ESCR-Net was able to host a meeting of prospective authors and [foster the discussion] critical issues. Finally, this book has materialised."

The edited book is divided into three main sections that respectively address procedural issues, substantive interpretation and remedies and enforcement. Each of the chapters sets out the background to the relevant article of the Protocol and analyses the different issues that are likely to arise in its interpretation and application. It seeks to move beyond a standard legal commentary to ask how the mechanism can be effectively applied and interpreted.

The commentary was edited by Malclom Langford (University of Oslo); Bruce Porter (Social Rights Advocacy Centre); Rebecca Brown (Center for Reproductive Rights) and Julieta Rossi (University of Lanus).

Please download the commentary here