An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
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: