Uruguay ratifies the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights: coming entry into force

Paris, 7 February 2013

FIDH welcomes the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR) by Uruguay, allowing its entry into force.

Following Uruguay’s ratification, number 10 after Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mongolia, Spain, Slovakia and Portugal, the Protocol will entry into force in May 2013.

The Protocol provides for an individual communication procedure, giving individuals or group of individuals whose Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ESCR), have been breached, the opportunity to bring a complaint before the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. After having exhausted internal legal remedies, victims shall be entitled to file a claim with the Committee against their own State, for the violations of the rights contained in the ICESCR.

The entry into force of the Protocol brings an end to the artificial separation between civil and political rights and ESCR, recalling that ESCR are equally important and invokable before a court of justice. Victims of violations of their ESCR, such as the right to health, the right to education, the right to food or the right to housing, have finally been provided with the instrument to seek justice at international level.

The entry into force of the Protocol represents a milestone in the effective realization of the ESCR and the defense of the universality and indivisibility of all human rights.

FIDH calls all the State parties to the ICESCR to sign and ratify the Protocol so it becomes genuinely universal.

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