The 10th ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) is an historical boost for the international protection of these rights, the ICJ said today.
“With the deposit today at the UN of the 10th instrument of ratification by Uruguay, we are very close to the long awaited entry into force of this new treaty”, said Sandra Ratjen, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR).
The OP-ICESCR will enter into force in three months from today and will provide for remedies at the international level to victims of violations of economic, social and cultural rights.
The Protocol establishes mechanisms that enable the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to examine complaints and initiate inquiries in cases of violations of these rights in the State parties whenever the victims could not obtain justice at the national level.
“We warmly welcome the 10th ratification of the Optional Protocol and we congratulate Uruguay on this decisive step for the protection of economic, social and cultural rights nationally and internationally”, said Wilder Tayler, ICJ’s Secretary General. “This is an important moment for the ICJ. We have a long-standing commitment and work in favour of the recognition of ESCR as legal and justiciable rights, on the same footing as other human rights.”
The ICJ urges States parties to the ICESCR to join the first ten States who became party to the Optional Protocol – Ecuador, Mongolia, Spain, El Salvador, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Portugal and Uruguay.
The ICJ stresses that only when a significant number of States will have become party to the Protocol, the mechanisms it offers will be effectively accessible to a great number of victims of violations of ESCR.
Sandra Ratjen, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, t: +41 22 979 38 35 ; e-mail: sandra.ratjen(at)icj.org
The ICJ is a member of the International NGO Coalition for the OP to the ICESCR. Together with the other members of the Coalition, the ICJ is involved in the Campaign in favour of the ratification of the OP-ICESCR.