Justiciability--the capability of being accepted by a court--of legal cases about economic, social and cultural rights is still a challenge in many countries due to lack of access to justice or limited recognition of these rights. This has begun to change at the international level with the coming into force of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR or OP) in May 2013.

This new legal instrument allows victims of violations of economic, social or cultural rights to present complaints before the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights--an independent body of the United Nations. A complaint can be brought against a state that violates the obligations established in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, if the state has ratified the OP.

CESR is collaborating with others to develop strategies on how to make the best use of the OP among national organizations. CESR also collaborates in developing evidence-based structural litigation and jurisprudence before judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, such as the OP, to move beyond the debate on justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights to address policy obstacles to the effective implementation of legal decisions.


Major advance for social justice as 'OP' comes into force
by Luke Holland
May 13th, 2013
Blog: On May 5 the long-awaited Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights finally entered into force.
7 down, 3 to go: Momentum builds for economic and social rights complaints mechanism
by Luke Holland
February 7th, 2012
Blog: Only three more ratifications are needed to make the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights operational.