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Print this pageCOMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURE: Go-ahead for ICESCR signals green light for CRC




Child Rights International Network

Resource type:

News release

[GENEVA, 19 June 2008] - The Human Rights Council has adopted an Optional Protocal for a communications procedure to strengthen the protection of economic, social and cultural rights. 

The Protocol will allow persons to petition an international human rights body about violations of rights guaranteed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The move clears the road for work on a parallel instrument for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Participants at a recent meeting hinted that States may be unwilling to begin work on a communications procedure to the CRC until the parallel ICESCR instrument had been agreed upon.

NGOs have been campaigning for the establishment of such an instrument, arguing it would allow children and their advocates to appeal when domestic or regional remedies fail or simply do not exist. This would put new pressure on States Parties to fulfil their obligations and also encourage them to provide effective remedies at national level. 

More than 400 international and national organisations have signed the petition: "An international call to strengthen the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the drafting of an Optional Protocol to provide a communications procedure". 

New procedure welcomed

Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, welcomed the news. "This is a highly significant achievement", she said. "The Protocol will provide an important platform to expose abuses that are often linked to poverty, discrimination and neglect, and that victims frequently endure in silence and helplessness. It will provide a way for individuals, who may otherwise be isolated and powerless, to make the international community aware of their situation."

Adopted by the Human Rights Council on 18 June, the Protocol is expected to get the final approval by the United Nations General Assembly later this year. Thereafter, the Protocol will enter into force once it has been ratified by ten States.

"Since the adoption of the two core international human rights covenants in 1966, the lack of a complaint procedure for economic, social and cultural rights has been a missing piece in the international human rights protection system" Arbour said.

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Last updated 24/06/2008 06:49:28

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