Slow procedure

Organizations pressure Brazil to sign the optional protocol on economic, social and cultural rights

07/21/2017 escr luislinda valois optional protocol

Civil society organizations put pressure on the Minister of Human Rights, Luislinda Valois, on July 18 for Brazil to sign and ratify the OP-ICESCR (Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). The protocol establishes a mechanism that allows individual citizens to submit complaints of violations committed against any of their economic, social and cultural rights.

This mechanism also allows citizens to request that States are held accountable under the Covenant for their obligations to respect, protect and fulfill these rights, and it recognizes the rights in different contexts, thereby serving as a guideline for governments that wish to implement the ICESCR in good faith.

The OP-ICESCR came into effect on May 5, 2013, and since the second cycle of the UPR (UN Universal Periodic Review), in 2012, Brazil has received recommendations to sign and ratify the protocol. In the latest cycle, which took place in May of this year, there were nine such recommendations from countries such as Argentina, Portugal, Angola and Finland. According to the Brazilian ambassador in Geneva, Maria Nazareh Farani Azevedo, the Brazilian government is following the internal procedure necessary to sign and ratify the OP-ICESCR, which has been ongoing now for a long time.

The letter sent by the organizations to Minister Valois argues that signing the protocol is important because “unfortunately our reality is one of widespread violations and we have a State that still has a long way to go to effectively guarantee human rights, particularly for populations and groups that have historically been discriminated against and marginalized in society”. The organizations go on to say that “by signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol, the Brazilian government will be taking another important step forward in its commitment to human rights”.

The letter sent to the minister was signed by Conectas, Articulation for Monitoring Human Rights in Brazil, MNDH (National Human Rights Movement), CBDHPE (Brazilian Human Rights and Foreign Policy Committee), IDDH (Institute for Development and Human Rights) and FIAN Brasil.

> Click here to read the letter in full.