UN soon to open for individual complaints

“An optional protocol to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights enters into force this year. It conveys the right to an individual complaints mechanism…From May of this year, citizens can directly seek justice from the UN if their fundamental rights are violated… while 160 countries have signed the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, only about a quarter of them are party to the additional Protocol – and so far, only 10 have actually ratified it… Only those 10 countries' citizens will enjoy access to the complaints mechansim… It entered into force in 1976 and addresses fifteen major legal issues, including the right to access to jobs, the right to strike, to education, protection against discrimination as well as the right to health and work and participation in the cultural life… article 12 of the covenant, which guarantees the right of every citizen to “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” These and other rights are guaranteed by the Covenant – but individuals can only recur to the complaints procedure provided that their countries have signed the optional protocol to the Social pact… This is disappointing for human rights activists like Lucie Veith. The lawyer heads the “Association of Intersexual People” in Germany. For her, it would be a major breakthrough if Germany ratified the protocol….”

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