A primary objective of this report is to provide an overview of and compare the monitoring mechanisms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the recent UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from a child rights perspective and how CSOs can best use these mechanisms. This is reflected in Part 1 of the report.


A secondary objective is to provide an overview of the regional human rights/ child rights mechanisms and how Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can use them for advancing Children’s Rights. Part 2 presents such an overview.


The report offers conclusions on the Child Rights impact of the CRC mechanisms, the UPR and the regional mechanisms.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) provides a new and exciting opportunity for advocates to hold the United States government accountable to all its human rights obligations and commitments. This toolkit is meant to help human rights advocates engage with the UPR process, especially advocates interested in human rights in the United States and the U.S. government's participation in the UPR. The manual contains two main sections. The first section presents the steps involved before and after the UPR. The second section points out entry points for non-governmental organisations (NGOs): engage in consultation with government; submit a stakeholder report; lobby other countries; attend the UPR Working Group session; participate in the Human Rights Council session; follow-up work to ensure implementation. The Appendix contains templates and samples of NGO submissions

The 21 case studies discussed in this volume clearly illustrate that a wide variety of economic, social and cultural rights are justiciable.  Moreover, this publication set out many concrete examples where legal action has made a difference and has unquestionably progressed the actual realisation of the rights.

Litigating Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Achievements, Challenges and Strategies also reveals the many practical and theoretical obstacles that have been encountered in social action litgation.

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Optional Protocol or OP-ICESCR) entered into force on 5 May 2013. With the Optional Protocol, the international community comes much closer to treating “human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis” as required by the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights. In particular, the OP-ICESCR creates a mechanism whereby rights holders can submit complaints of violations of any of their economic, social and cultural rights and hold States accountable to their obligations under the Covenant to respect, protect, and fulfill Covenant rights, including the human rights to education. This procedure will also provide further clarity on the content of human rights in different contexts, resulting in greater guidance for governments that seek to implement the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in good faith.

The objective of this manual is to provide theoretical and practical information for lawyers and other advocates interested in utilizing the OP-ICESCR as a means to enforce economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to eduxcation. A related aim of this manual is to contribute to the growing network of advocates using strategic litigation to advance ESC rights protections, by supporting ongoing exchange and collaboration.

This handbook identifies and explains key stages of the process and provides guidelines and recommendations to prepare submissions and advocacy activities within all the UPR process.

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Women’s lives are impacted by a myriad of issues such as the frequent lack of basic services; inequality; lack of accountability of States, corporations and other global actors; discriminatory cultural stereotypes, beliefs and the impact of harmful practices; religious fundamentalisms and development agendas which exclude consideration of the rights and experiences of women and differences between women. Within this context, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) are the two key human rights instruments which provide a forum for demanding realisation of women’s human rights.

This guide, created in conjunction with IWRAW-Asia Pacific, provides a practical guide to using both CEDAW and ICESCR as well as their complaints mechanisms to demand recognition and implementation of women's ESC rights, including the right to education. 

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Ceci est le document nº1 des 3 documents conçus pour présenter le récent travail de recherche et de plaidoyer mené par l’Initiative mondiale pour les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, en partenariat avec les organisations de la société civile dans 7 pays du monde, ainsi que l’Initiative sur la privatisation de la recherche dans l’éducation et le Right to Education Project. Le travail examine de façon critique les effets de la privatisation de l’éducation en utilisant des mécanismes des droits de l’homme. Les documents sont conçus pour servir d’introduction à ce travail et l’Initiative mondiale pour les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels peut apporter d’autres ressources, des informations et une aide à quiconque souhaiterait s’engager dans cette étude. 

Accéder au document n°2: Comment utiliser les mécanismes des droits de l’homme

Accéder au document n°3: Études de cas sur les rapports parallèles pour faire face à la privatisation de l’éducation

ENGLISH

This guide, issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), focuses on how civil society can follow up on recommendations of United Nations (UN) human rights mechanisms and mandates or bodies.

The Strategic Litigation Working Group (SLWG) has launched a discussion paper with eight key proposals regarding the follow-up on views issued by United Nations human rights treaty bodies (UNTBs). ESCR-Net’s SLWG recognises the significance of decisions issued by UNTBs under the complaints procedures (Views) in the advancement of human rights enjoyment by people around the world, and welcomes the past action and willingness of the UNTBs to continue developing constructive practices regarding the impact and implementation of such Views.

Three principles underpin the SLWG’s proposals: the principle of non-repetition (consistently applied by the HRC in its views and by the CESCR in its General Comments); the principle of reasonableness (developed by the CESCR through its General Comments and 2007 Statement on Maximum Availability of Resources, and made explicit in the OP-ICESCR); and the principle of participation (recognised under a number of UN human rights treaties). Taking into account the practice of different international and regional human rights bodies, the SLWG proposes that the three principles should be applied during the consideration of a case, follow up and implementation, in order to maximise the effectiveness of human rights remedies.

While many authorities can tolerate some traditional campaigning methods, it is usually harder to ignore the law. As part of broader campaigns, the law can be a powerful tool for achieving the changes that children need. Legal advocacy is now being used systematically in a few countries – leading to strong outcomes for children – and it has great potential for wider use.

There are many occasions for legal advocacy. International law sets out the principles and standards that states are obliged to meet but frequently do not, and so their domestic law violates children’s rights. Often, a state meets a standard in domestic legislation but its policy fails to implement the law. Sometimes, it is unclear what a law means in practice, or the meaning is clear but no one knows whether it is being implemented. These various gaps between international legal standards, domestic law and state policy (or corporate policy) present potential opportunities for legal advocacy.

There are also many avenues for legal advocacy. It is a broad term, not limited to taking rights violators to court. Many small-scale legal activities can enhance traditional campaigning, such as reporting on the implementation of a law, or raising awareness of what the law says. Sometimes, simply documenting and publicising the gaps between law and practice is enough to persuade decision-makers to act. But only sometimes. Towards the other end of the spectrum is work that demands more time and resources, including taking a government or corporation to court in order to bring broader social change. A successful case might improve the legal standards that apply to children, or lead to a major policy change of long-term benefit to children.

This introductory guide offers a brief overview of avenues for legal advocacy. It also offers guidance on how to explore your options, and how to promote legal advocacy work with other children’s rights advocates.