Key Issues of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Its Role in Challenging Systematic Poverty
31 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2014
Date Written: June 11, 2011
The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) establishes the latest of the UN human rights complaints mechanisms. After an overview on the main key issues and functions of the Protocol, this paper examines the extent to which it may be deemed a meaningful tool for challenging systematic poverty.
This paper argues that interpreting development and poverty alleviation in terms of shared responsibility would reinvigorate the importance of the justiciable obligation of international assistance and cooperation in mitigating harmful practices of inequality and exclusion. It concludes that a potentially more effective complaints mechanism could have been created. Nevertheless, the adjudicatory role of the Committee would be crucial for highlighting violations of ESCR committed by both donor and recipient states, thus enhancing victims’ participation, transparency, and accountability for any breach of the Covenant’s territorial and extraterritorial obligations.
Keywords: Optional Protocol, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Poverty, International Cooperation
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