31 OCTOBER 2011 / ARGENTINA: FIRST MEMBER OF THE G20 TO BECOME PARTY TO THE NEW UN MECHANISM TO ENFORCE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: Argentina is the first member of the G20 group of the world’s largest economies to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights. The Optional Protocol will allow individuals and groups within the country to seek justice from the United Nations should these rights – which include the rights to adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health, work, social security and education – be violated by their government. The decisions made by this new mechanism are likely to influence decisions of national and regional courts around the world. Five countries, including Argentina, have now ratified the Optional Protocol. Read more here.
24 OCTOBER 2011 / PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS LAUNCHED BY AFRICAN COMMISSION [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights formally launched its Principles and Guidelines on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Reporting Guidelines on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 50th ordinary session in Banjul, the Gambia. These instruments clarify and strengthen the protection of the rights to property, to housing, to work, to health, to food, to water and sanitation, to culture and to social security under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The guidelines will soon become available here. Read the press release issued by 12 organizations and networks here. Access the final communiqué of the 50th session of the ACHPR here.
18 OCTOBER 2011 / THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION BY THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER ARTICLE 36, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: According to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, persons with disabilities are often denied access to justice on an equal basis with others. He submitted written observations to the European Court of Human Rights on a case concerning the treatment of a person with disability in Romania. According to Hammarberg, “There is an atmosphere of impunity surrounding abuses committed against people with disabilities. A strict application of standing requirements to these persons would have the undesired effect of depriving a particularly vulnerable group of people of any reasonable prospect of seeking and obtaining redress for violations of their human rights.” Read more here and access the text of the third party intervention here.
17 OCTOBER 2011 / MAASTRICHT PRINCIPLES ON EXTRATERRITORIAL OBLIGATIONS OF STATES IN THE AREA OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Ashfaq Khalfan, Amnesty International]: In October 2011, a group of experts in international human rights law adopted the Maastricht Principles on Extra-Territorial Obligations of States in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These international legal principles serve to clarify the human rights obligations of states beyond their own borders and cover all economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to water, to health, housing, sanitation and education. The Principles affirm that states are obliged to cooperate and assist other states in the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, and emphasise that states can and must be held to account for violations of human rights that occur due their conduct beyond their borders. Read more here and access the full text of the Maastricht Principles here .
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