Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


The states party to this protocol,

Noting that, according to the principles set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity of all members of the human family and of equal and inalienable rights constitutes the basis of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that every human being has the right to enjoy all the rights and freedoms contained in the declaration, without any discrimination of any kind, such as discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, or Religion, political or non-political opinion, national or social origin, wealth, birth, or any other status.

Recalling what was stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights that the ideal of human beings being free and free from fear and want can only be achieved by creating conditions in which every human being enjoys his civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights,

Reaffirming that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated,

Noting that every state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter referred to as the “Covenant”) undertakes to take on its own and through international assistance and cooperation, especially on the economic and technical levels, and to the maximum of its available resources, the necessary steps To ensure the progressive full enjoyment of the rights recognized in this covenant, all appropriate means are open to this, especially the way to adopt legislative measures.

And considering it appropriate, to promote the realization of the objectives of the Covenant and the implementation of its provisions, to enable the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee"), to carry out the tasks stipulated in this Protocol,

Have agreed on the following:

Article 1

The competence of the committee with regard to receiving and considering communications

1 - Each state party to the Covenant, which becomes a party to this Protocol, recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications in accordance with the provisions of this Protocol.

2- The Committee may not receive any communication regarding any State in the Covenant that is not a party to this Protocol.

Article 2


Communications may be submitted by, or on behalf of, individuals or groups of individuals who fall within the jurisdiction of a State party and claim to be victims of a violation by that State party of any of the specified economic, social and cultural rights. Whenever a communication is submitted on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals, this shall be with their consent unless the author can justify his act on their behalf without obtaining that consent.

Article 3


1- The committee will not consider any communication unless it has ascertained that all available local remedies have been exhausted. This rule does not apply if the application of these remedies takes an unreasonably long period of time.

2 - The committee declares the communication inadmissible in the following cases:

A - When the communication has not been submitted within one year after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, with the exception of cases in which the author proves that he is unable to submit it before the expiration of this deadline,

B - Whenever the facts, the subject of the communication, have entered into force of this Protocol for the State Party concerned, unless these facts continue after the date of entry into force,

C - Whenever the same matter had previously been considered by the committee or was, or is still under consideration, under another procedure of the international investigation or preceded the international settlement,

D - When the communication was inconsistent with the provisions of the Covenant,

F - When the communication is not based on a clear basis, or is not supported by sufficient evidence, or when it is based exclusively on reports published by the media,

K - When the report constitutes an abuse of the right to submit a communication, or

L - when the communication was anonymous or not written.

Article 4

Reports that reveal clear harm

The Committee may, as appropriate, refuse to consider a communication if the communication does not disclose that the author has been clearly harmed, unless the committee considers that the communication raises a serious issue of general importance.

Article 5

Temporary measures

1 - The committee may, at any time receiving the communication and before making any decision on the merits, refer to the attention of the concerned State Party a request that the State Party consider urgently taking temporary protection measures, as necessary in exceptional circumstances, in order to avoid irreparable harm to a victim or Victims of alleged violations.

2 - When the committee exercises its discretionary power under paragraph (1) of this article, this does not imply a decision on the admissibility of the communication or on the merit of its subject matter.

Article 6

Assignment report

1 - Unless the committee considers the communication inadmissible without referring to the concerned state party, the confidentiality committee seeks to present any communication submitted to it under this protocol to the familiar state party.

2- The receiving State Party shall submit to the Ljmah within six months written explanations or statements explaining the matter and the remedy, if any, which the State Party may have provided.

Article 7

Friendly caries

1- The committee offers its good offices to the parties concerned with the aim of reaching an amicable settlement of the issue on the basis of respecting the obligations stipulated in the Covenant.

2 - Each agreement on an amicable settlement shall be deemed to constitute a consideration for the communication under this protocol.

Article 8

Reports search

1- The committee examines the communications it receives under Article (2) of this protocol in light of all the documents submitted to it, provided these documents are referred to the parties concerned.

2 - The Committee shall hold closed sessions when examining the communications submitted under this protocol.

3- When examining a communication submitted under this protocol, the committee may refer, as appropriate, to the relevant documents prepared by the United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, funds, programs and other mechanisms, as well as documents prepared by other international organizations, including regional human rights systems, and to any observations Or comments submitted by the State Party concerned.

4 - When examining communications under this protocol, the Committee considers the reasonableness of the steps taken by the State party in accordance with Part Two of the Covenant. Thus, the Committee takes into account that a State party can adopt a range of political measures to implement the rights set forth in the Covenant.

Article 9

Follow up the implementation of the committee's opinions

1- After examining the communication, the committee refers to the parties concerned about its view on the communication, together with its recommendations, if any.

2- The committee shall give due consideration to the committee’s opinions and recommendations, if any, and shall submit to the committee within six months a written response that includes information on any action it has taken in light of the committee’s opinions and recommendations.

3 - The Committee may invite the State party to provide additional information regarding any measures that the State Party has taken in response to the Committee's opinions or recommendations, if any, including as the Committee deems appropriate in the subsequent reports submitted by the State Party in accordance with Articles (16) (17) of the Covenant.

Article 10

Messages exchanged between countries

1- Any state party to this protocol may declare at a time under this article that it recognizes the competence of the committee to receive letters in which a state party claims that another state party does not fulfill its obligations under the covenant and to consider these messages. Messages addressed under this article may not be received and considered unless it is submitted by A state party that has issued a declaration recognizing the competence of the Commission in relation to it. The committee does not receive any message if it concerns a state party that did not make this announcement. The correspondence received under this Article shall be handled according to the following procedures: -

A - Whenever a state party to this protocol believes that another state party is not fulfilling its obligations under the covenant, it may direct the attention of that state party to that by a written letter. The State Party shall also inform the Committee of the matter. The state receiving the letter shall provide to the country that sent it, within three months of receiving it, an explanation or any other statement in writing clarifying the matter, provided that it includes, to the extent possible and to the extent relevant to the subject, an indication of the domestic measures and remedies taken or expected to be taken or Available on the issue.

B - If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of both states and the parties concerned within six months of the receiving state's receipt of the first message, either state has the right to refer the matter to the committee by means of notification addressed to the committee and to the other country.

C - The committee does not take up a matter referred to it until it is certain that all local remedies have been used and exhausted in the matter. This rule does not apply if the remedial actions have been unreasonably prolonged.

D - Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (c) of this paragraph, the committee shall make available its good offices to the two concerned states with a view to reaching an amicable solution to the issue on the basis of respecting the obligations stipulated in the Covenant,

E - The committee shall hold closed sessions when examining the letters submitted under this article.

F - The committee may request, in any matter referred to it in accordance with sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph, to the two states parties concerned, referred to in sub-paragraph (b), to provide it with any relevant information on the subject.

G - The two states concerned parties referred to in subparagraph (b) of this paragraph shall have the right to be represented when the committee considers the matter and to present statements orally and / or in writing.

M - The committee shall submit, as soon as required, after the date of receiving the notification under subparagraph (b) of this paragraph, a report as follows:

1 - In the event that a settlement is reached in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (d) of this paragraph, the committee shall limit its report to a brief statement of the facts and the solution reached.

2 - In the event that no solution is reached in accordance with the provisions of Subparagraph (D), the committee shall present in its report the facts related to the issue between the two states and the parties concerned. The written statements and the verbal statements submitted by the two countries and the concerned parties are attached to the report. The committee may also send to the two states parties concerned only any opinions it may deem relevant to the issue between them.

The report informs the two concerned parties on each issue.

2 - States Parties shall deposit a declaration in accordance with Paragraph 1 of this Article with the Secretary-General of the United Nations who sends copies of it to other State Parties. Any declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification addressed to the Secretary-General. This withdrawal does not prejudice the consideration of any issue that is the subject of a letter already transmitted under this article, and no other message may be received from any state party under this article after the Secretary-General has received the notification of withdrawing the declaration, unless the concerned state party has issued a new declaration.

Article 11

Conduct an investigation

1 - Each state that is a party to this Protocol may declare at any time that it recognizes the competencies of the committee stipulated in this article.

2 - If the committee receives reliable information indicating the occurrence of gross or systematic violations by a state party of any of the economic, social or cultural rights stipulated in the covenant, the committee invites that state party to cooperate in examining the information and to present its observations on this information.

3 - Taking into account any observations that the State Party concerned has provided and any other reliable information available to it, the Committee may appoint one or more of its members to conduct an investigation and submit a report urgently to the Committee. The investigation may include a visit to the territory of the State Party, whenever necessary, and with its consent.

4 - That investigation shall be conducted in secret, and the cooperation of that State Party shall be sought in all stages of the proceedings.

5 - After studying the results of the investigation, the committee shall transmit those conclusions to the State Party concerned, together with any comments and recommendations.

6 - The State Party concerned shall submit its observations to the Committee within six months of receiving the conclusions, comments and recommendations transmitted by the Committee.

7 - After completing these procedures related to any investigation conducted in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Article, the committee may decide, after conducting consultations with the State Party concerned, to include a brief statement of the results of the procedures in its annual report stipulated in Article (10) of this Protocol.

8 - Any state party that issues a declaration in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article may withdraw this declaration at any time by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary-General.

Article 12

Follow up on the investigation

1 - The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its report submitted under Articles (16) and (17) of the Covenant details of any measures taken in response to an inquiry conducted under Article (11) of this Protocol.

2 - The committee may, if necessary, and after the end of the six-month period referred to in paragraph (6) of Article (11), invite the State Party concerned to inform it of the measures taken in response to that investigation.

Article 13

Protection measures

The State Party shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons under its jurisdiction are not exposed to any form of ill-treatment or intimidation as a result of the communications they submit to the Committee pursuant to this Protocol.

Article 14

International assistance and cooperation

1 - The Committee shall refer, as it deems appropriate and with the consent of the State Party concerned, to the United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programs and other competent bodies their opinions or recommendations regarding communications and investigations indicating a need for technical advice or assistance, accompanied by the State party's observations and suggestions, if any, regarding These opinions or recommendations.

2 - The Committee may also direct the attention of these bodies, with the consent of the State Party concerned, to any issue arising from the communications considered under this Protocol and which could assist them, each in their field of competence, in reaching a decision on the desirability of taking international measures that would contribute In assisting states parties to make progress in implementing the rights recognized in the Covenant.

3 - A trust fund shall be established in accordance with the relevant procedures followed in the General Assembly, and the fund shall be managed in accordance with the financial regulations and rules of the United Nations to provide specialized and technical assistance to the State Parties, and with the consent of the State Party concerned, in order to enhance the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in the context of this Protocol.

4 - The provisions of this article do not affect the obligations of each state party to implement its obligations under the Covenant.

Article 15

annual report

The Committee shall include in its annual report a summary of the activities it has undertaken under this Protocol.

Article 16

Publishing and media

Each State Party undertakes to make the Covenant and this Protocol widely known and publicized, to facilitate access to information on the Committee's opinions and recommendations, especially on matters relating to the State Party, and to do so by using means accessible to persons with disabilities.

Article 17

Signature, ratification and accession

1 - This protocol shall be open for signature by every state that has signed or acceded to the covenant.

2 - This Protocol shall be ratified by every country that ratified or acceded to the Covenant. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

3 - The door to accession to this Protocol is open to every country that has ratified or acceded to the Covenant.

4- Accession shall be made by depositing the instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations g

Article 18

Entry into force

1 - This Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2 - This Protocol shall enter into force for every country that ratifies or accedes to it after depositing the tenth instrument of ratification or accession, after three months have passed from the date of depositing its instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 19


1 - Any state party may propose an amendment to this Protocol and submit it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary General shall inform the States Parties of any proposed amendments, accompanied by a request to inform him of whether they prefer holding a conference of the States Parties for the purpose of considering the proposals and voting on them, and if at least one-third of the States Parties, within four months from the date of notification, express a desire to hold such a conference The Secretary-General calls for the conference to be held under the auspices of the United Nations, by a two-thirds majority of the states parties present and ratifying it to the General Assembly for approval, then he refers it to all states parties for acceptance.

2- Each amendment shall enter into force and approval shall be obtained in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article as of the thirtieth day of the date when the number of instruments of acceptance deposited is two-thirds of the number of states parties at the date of the amendment's approval, then it becomes effective for each state party as of the thirty day following the deposit Its acceptance, and the amendment is not binding except for the State Parties that have agreed to it.

Article 20


1 - Any State Party may denounce this Protocol at any time by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Such denunciation shall take effect six months after the date on which the Secretary General has delivered that notification.

2- The denunciation does not prejudice the continued applicability of the provisions of this Protocol to any communication submitted under Articles (2) and (10) or to any action taken under Article (11) before the date on which the denunciation takes effect.

Article 21

Notifications received from the Secretary General

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all countries referred to in Paragraph (1) of

Article (26) of the Covenant with the following details:

(A) Signatures, ratifications and accessions made within the framework of this protocol,

(B) The date of entry into force of this Protocol and the entry into force of any amendment under Article (19),

(C) Any denunciation under Article (20)

Article 22

Official languages

1 - This protocol, the texts of which are equally authentic, in the Spanish, English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic and French languages shall be deposited in the archives of the renewed nations.

2 - The Secretary General of the United Nations shall transmit notarized copies of this protocol to all the countries referred to in Article (26) of the Covenant.


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