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The NGO Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP- ICESCR), coordinated by ESCR-Net, led the international NGO Campaign for the OP-ICESCR and continues to support national efforts for the ratification and implementation of the OP-ICESCR to ensure that individuals and groups have access to justice for violations to their ESCR.

Timeline of the Campaign

Please visit here to see the full timeline.

  • 1994 UN Committee on ESCR (CESCR) begins work on a draft Optional Protocol to the ICESCR.
  • 1997 CESCR presents a draft Optional Protocol to the UN Commission on Human Rights.
  • 2001 Civil society groups and advocates committed to the development of an Optional Protocol meet in South Africa to form the NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR.
  • 2004 The UN Open-Ended Working Group on the OP-ICESCR meets for the first time. The NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR participates in the process.
  • 2008 The Human Rights Council approves the text of the draft Optional Protocol. In December, the UN General Assembly adopts the OP-ICESCR, and the NGO Coalition launches an official campaign for ratification of the OP-ICESCR.
  • 2009 The OP-ICESCR opens for signature and ratification, with immediate signature by 29 States.
  • 2013 The newly established ‘Group of Friends of the OP-ICESCR,’ composed of ratifying States, holds first events in Geneva and New York City.
  • 5 May 2013 The OP-ICESCR enters into force following submission of the 10th ratification by Uruguay.


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Has your country ratified the OP-ICESCR?

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Party to the ICESCR
Signed the OP-ICESCR
Ratified the OP-ICESCR

Last update: April 2017

Steering Committee

The Coalition is led by a Steering Committee of the following organizations:

  • Amnesty International- Renata de Souza
  • DECA Equipo Pueblo- Areli Sandoval Terán
  • Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape- Ebenezer Durojaye
  • Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme (FIDH)- Maddalena Neglia
  • Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN)- Ana Maria Suarez Franco
  • International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific -  Michaela Guthridge
  • National Center for Advocacy Studies (NCAS)- Sandeep Kumar Pattkaik
  • Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC)- Bruce Porter 

This Steering Committee is committed to supporting ongoing ratification efforts; for technical or strategic support, please write to the Steering Committee at: opcoalition@gmail.com (being monitored in English by Bruce Porter, SRAC, and being monitored in Spanish by Ana Maria Suarez, FIAN).

ESCR-Net coordinated this Steering Committee and an active International Campaign for the OP-ICESCR from 2008-2016. This Steering Committee also included Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD) and the International Commission of Jurists. ESCR-Net continues to support the communication of the Steering Committee and Coalition, while working to advance access to justice for ESCR more broadly and the use of the OP-ICESCR in practice via its member-led working groups. To add new resources to this site and/or promote ongoing ratification efforts, please contact ESCR-Net at: op-coalition@escr-net.org.