[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
The NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has launched a Toolkit for Action for the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR.
The Toolkit provides practical guidance to NGOs and other civil society groups, as well as States on their work around the Optional Protocol. The Toolkit aims to facilitate international and national advocacy work for the ratification and the entry into force of the Protocol and the national implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.
The Toolkit includes four Booklets:
Booklet 1: Refreshing Your Knowledge about the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – explains:
• The content of the Covenant that the Optional Protocol seeks to enforce.
• States’ obligations under the Covenant, the role of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body of experts in charge of implementing the Optional Protocol and the challenges related to the implementation and enforcement of ESCR.
Booklet 2: Overview: The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – describes:
• The procedures and mechanisms introduced by the Optional Protocol.
• The adoption and ratification process of the Optional Protocol.
• The competence of the Committee to receive and consider complaints against States Parties.
Booklet 3: Why Should States Ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?
• Outlines some of the key incentives for States to ratify and implement the Optional Protocol.
• Challenges the myths contesting the justiciability of ESCR.
• Offers tools to advocate for ratification and domestic implementation of the Optional Protocol.
Booklet 4: Tools to Lobby Your Country and Advocate for the Ratification and Implementation of the Optional Protocol:
• This final Booklet provides information, resources and templates to assist civil society groups in their lobbying efforts for the ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocol.
The Booklets can be accessed at the following website: