Take Action to advance the ratification of the OP-ICESCR / Sept-Dec 2016

Action Circular – Campaign for the Ratification of the OP-ICESCR

September to December 2016

Period suggested for taking actions: from September 24th, marking the opening to signature and ratification of the OP-ICESCR, to December 10th, Human Rights Day

Key messages: 50th Anniversary of the International Human Rights Covenants, access to justice for all human rights, OP-ICESCR ratification as a step towards Sustainable Development Goal 16, on the provision of access to justice for all and building accountable institutions.

Key dates: September 24th and December 10th

With the goal of advancing our efforts to promote the Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), we would like to bring to your attention key dates for action from now until December 10th.

As you know, September 24th marks the 7th anniversary of the opening to signature and ratification of the OP-ICESCR. Our efforts have contributed to securing 21 ratifications across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, and another 26 signatures, expressing those countries´ intent to ratify.

This year, we have been highlighting the 50th Anniversary of the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Civil and Political Rights. The entry into force and growing ratifications of the OP-ICESCR reaffirm that all human rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible in the lived experience of people. Everyone must be able to access justice for violations of all their human rights. The OP-ICESCR creates an opportunity to access a remedy at the international level for violations of ESCR when domestic remedies fail.

On this anniversary, please consider sending a communication to, and/or arranging a meeting with, your government officials, advocating ratification and requesting information on the status of the process in your country. Knowledge regarding your government’s questions or concerns can inform ongoing outreach and advocacy. Please find some suggestions for letters and advocacy meetings in Booklet #4 of the NGO Campaign Toolkit.

Also, when planning these communications, you can check the recommendations received and/or commitments made by your country under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) or before the Committee on ESCR. If your country has received the recommendation of ratifying the OP-ICESCR or has made a commitment on access to justice, this can provide an entry point to frame the call for ratification. We have created a chart with relevant information in this regard; please feel free to send us more information to improve the chart.

Additionally, you can check if your country is a current member (or a candidate) of the Human Rights Council and recommend ratification based on its membership to this human rights body. Please consult the section on ‘Why Should States Ratify the OP-ICESCR’ in Booklet #3 of the NGO Campaign Toolkit for relevant arguments. If some communication from the wider NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR could support your national efforts, please let us know.

Finally, it is important to continue to build awareness of ESCR and the OP-ICESCR in particular.  The NGO Campaign has created videos, brochures, and other resources in multiple languages to support outreach to potential allies across civil society. 

For further support in relation to your national actions, please contact Ivahanna Larrosa, Campaign Coordinator at ilarrosa@escr-net.org.

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