Still from an animated film featuring a boy who sets off looking for justice when his village is bulldozed.
© Amnesty International
The Protocol “will provide an important platform to expose abuses that are often linked to poverty, discrimination and neglect”.
Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Activists helped secure a new way of getting justice for people living in poverty.
Imagine your government decides to demolish your home without warning. You have no power to stop them, and no one listens when you demand that they stop. You are simply left on the street.
This is a reality for many thousands of people who are forcibly evicted from slums every year. And it is just one example of how the rights of people living in poverty are being abused.
Governments have an obligation under international law to ensure economic, social and cultural rights for their people. But millions are still forced to get by without proper housing or enough food. Many also lack clean water, sanitation, healthcare, work, education, social security... the list goes on. Most have little prospect of being listened to or getting justice. Until now.
Amnesty International activists in over 40 countries used petitions, global appeals, media coverage and lobbying to win international support for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. It allows people to complain to a UN body if a state violates its obligations to protect these rights. The Protocol was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 2008.
So far Ecuador, Mongolia and Spain have agreed to be legally bound by (ratified) the Protocol. Just seven more states need to follow suit before it comes into force. By August 2011, although 33 other states have endorsed the new measures, they have not yet ratified the Protocol.
We are now pushing for all states to agree to the Protocol, and put justice for the world’s poorest people within reach. As the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, put it, it “will provide an important platform to expose abuses that are often linked to poverty, discrimination and neglect, and that victims frequently endure in silence and helplessness”.
To learn more about our campaign for international justice, visit: http://www.amnesty.org/en/international-justice