Law Approving The Optional Protocol To The International Covenant On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Adopted In New York On December 10, 2008 (1) (2) (3) (4).

Original Language Title: Loi portant assentiment au Protocole facultatif se rapportant au Pacte international relatif aux droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, adopté à New York le 10 décembre 2008 (1) (2) (3) (4)

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5 MAI 2014. - An Act to approve the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted in New York on 10 December 2008 (1) (2) (3) (4)



PHILIPPE, King of the Belgians,
To all, present and to come, Hi.
The Chambers adopted and We sanction the following:
Article 1er. This Act regulates a matter referred to in Article 77 of the Constitution.
Art. 2. The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted in New York on 10 December 2008, will be fully effective.
Art. 3. The competence of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to receive, in accordance with article 10 of this Optional Protocol, notifications from a State party that states that another State party does not comply with its obligations, or to conduct, in accordance with articles 11 and 12 of this Optional Protocol, an investigation into serious and systematic violations by a State party of one of the economic, social and cultural rights described in the Covenant is recognized.
Promulgate this law, order that it be clothed with the seal of the State and published by the Belgian Monitor.
Given in Brussels on 5 May 2014.
PHILIPPE
By the King:
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,
D. REYNDERS
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health,
Ms. L. ONKELINX
The Minister of Justice,
Ms. A. TURTELBOOM
The Minister of Employment,
Ms. M. DE CONINCK
Minister of Development Cooperation,
J.-P. LABILLE
The Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Social Integration and the Fight against Poverty,
Ms. M. DE BLOCK
Seal of the state seal:
The Minister of Justice,
Ms. A. TURTELBOOM
____
Notes
(1) Senate (www.senate.be):
Documents: 5-2394.
Annales du Sénat : 13/02/2014.
House of Representatives (www.lachambre.be):
Documents: 53-3372.
Full record: 13/03/2014.
(2) See Decree of the Flemish Community/Flemish Region of 4 March 2011 (Belgian Monitor of 11 April 2011 - Ed. 2), Decree of the French Community of 7 November 2013 (Belgian Monitor of 28 January 2014), Decree of the German-speaking Community of 23 May 2011 (Belgian Monitor of 27 September 2011), Decree of the Walloon Region of 28 November 2013 (Belgian Currency of 11 December 2013),
(3) Related states.
(4) Declaration.

Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Preamble
States Parties to this Protocol,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, the recognition of the inherent dignity of all members of the human family and their equal and inalienable rights constitutes the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone can avail himself of all the rights and freedoms proclaimed in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, including race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights recognize that the ideal of the free human being, free from fear and misery, can only be realized if the conditions for everyone to enjoy their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights are created,
Reaffirming that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated,
Recalling that each State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter referred to as the Covenant) undertakes to take action, both through its own efforts and through international assistance and cooperation, in particular at the economic and technical levels, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to ensuring progressively the full enjoyment of the rights recognized in the Covenant by all appropriate means, including, in particular, the adoption of legislative measures,
Considering that, in order to better ensure the fulfilment of the purposes of the Covenant and the application of its provisions, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) should be empowered to perform the functions set out in this Protocol,
The following agreed:
Article 1er. Competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications
1. Any State Party to the Covenant that becomes a Party to this Protocol recognizes that the Committee has jurisdiction to receive and consider communications under the provisions of this Protocol.
2. The Committee shall not receive any communication involving a State Party to the Covenant which is not a Party to this Protocol.
Article 2. Communications
Communications may be submitted by individuals or groups of individuals or on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals under the jurisdiction of a State Party who claim to be victims of a violation by that State Party of one of the economic, social and cultural rights set out in the Covenant. A communication may only be submitted on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals with their consent unless the author can justify acting on their behalf without such consent.
Article 3. Acceptability
1. The Committee does not examine any communication without verifying that all domestic remedies have been exhausted. This rule does not apply in cases where the appeal proceedings exceed reasonable time limits.
2. The Committee declares inadmissible any communication which:
(a) Not filed within 12 months of exhaustion of domestic remedies, except in cases where the author can demonstrate that the communication was not possible within that time limit;
(b) Requires facts prior to the date of entry into force of this Protocol with respect to the State Party concerned, unless such facts persist after that date;
(c) With respect to a matter that has already been examined or that has already been or is being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;
(d) Is incompatible with the provisions of the Covenant;
(e) is manifestly ill-founded, insufficiently substantiated or based exclusively on media information;
(f) Makes an abuse of the right to submit a communication;
(g) Is anonymous or not written.
Article 4. Communications that do not show a significant disadvantage
The Committee may, if necessary, refuse to consider a communication that does not reveal that the author has suffered a significant disadvantage unless the Committee considers that the communication raises a serious issue of general importance.
Article 5. Provisional measures
1. Upon receipt of a communication and before making a decision on the merits, the Committee may at any time submit to the State Party concerned a request that the State Party take the interim measures that may be necessary in exceptional circumstances to avoid any irreparable harm to the victim or victims of the alleged violation.
2. The Committee does not prejudge its decision on the admissibility or merits of the communication simply because it exercises its discretion under paragraph 1 of this article.
Article 6. Communications transmission
1. Unless the Committee deems it inadmissible without reference to the State Party concerned, the Committee shall give the attention of that State Party any communication addressed to it under this Protocol.
2. Within six months, the State Party concerned shall submit in writing to the Committee explanations or statements providing details of the case that is the subject of the communication, indicating, where appropriate, the corrective measures it has taken.
Article 7. Amicable rules
1. The Committee shall make its good offices available to interested States Parties in order to arrive at an amicable settlement of the matter based on compliance with the obligations set forth in the Covenant.
2. Any friendly settlement agreement shall terminate the examination of the communication under this Protocol.
Article 8. Consideration of communications
1. The Committee shall consider the communications addressed to it under Article 2 of this Protocol taking into account all the documentation submitted to it, provided that such documentation shall be communicated to the parties concerned.
2. The Committee shall consider in private communications under this Protocol.
3. When considering a communication under this Protocol, the Committee may consult, as appropriate, the relevant documentation from other organs or specialized agencies, funds, programmes and mechanisms of the United Nations and other international organizations, including regional human rights systems, and any observations or comments of the State concerned.
4. When examining communications under this Protocol, the Committee shall determine the appropriateness of the measures taken by the State Party in accordance with the provisions of Part II of the Covenant. In doing so, it bears in mind that the State Party may adopt a range of measures to implement the rights set forth in the Covenant.
Article 9. Follow-up to the Committee ' s Views
1. Upon consideration of a communication, the Committee shall transmit its Views on the communication, together with, where appropriate, its recommendations to interested parties.
2. The State Party shall give due consideration to the Committee ' s Views and any recommendations and submit within six months to the Committee a written response containing information on any action taken in the light of the Committee ' s Views and Recommendations.
3. The Committee may invite the State Party to submit further information on the measures taken in response to its Views or any recommendations, including, if the Committee considers it appropriate, in the subsequent reports of the State Party under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant.
Article 10. Interstate communications
1. Any State Party to this Protocol may declare at any time, under this article, that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications in which a State Party affirms that another State Party shall not fulfil its obligations under the Covenant. Communications under this article may only be received and considered if they arise from a State Party which has made a declaration recognizing, with respect to it, the competence of the Committee. The Committee shall not receive any communication from a State Party that has not made such a declaration. The following procedure applies in respect of communications received under this section:
(a) If a State Party to this Protocol considers that another State Party does not fulfil its obligations under the Covenant, it may, by written communication, call the attention of that State to the matter. The State Party may also inform the Committee of the matter. Within three months of the receipt of the communication, the receiving State shall keep to the State which has sent the communication explanations or any other written statements clarifying the matter, which shall include, to the extent possible and useful, information on its rules of procedure and on the means of appeals, pending or open;
(b) If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the two States Parties concerned within six months of the date of receipt of the original communication by the receiving State, both shall have the right to submit it to the Committee, by sending a notification to the Committee and to the other State concerned;
(c) The Committee may not know of a case submitted to it until it has ascertained that all available domestic remedies have been exercised and exhausted. This rule does not apply where, in the opinion of the Committee, the appeal procedure exceeds reasonable time limits;
(d) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (c) of this paragraph, the Committee shall make its good offices available to the States Parties concerned with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter based on compliance with the obligations set out in the Covenant;
(e) The Committee shall hold its closed sessions when examining the communications provided for in this article;
(f) In any case referred to it pursuant to paragraph (b) of this paragraph, the Committee may request interested States Parties referred to in paragraph (b) to provide it with any relevant information;
(g) Interested States Parties referred to in paragraph (b) of this paragraph shall be entitled to be represented during the consideration of the case by the Committee and to make oral or written comments, or both;
(h) The Committee shall, with due urgency from the day on which it received the notification referred to in paragraph (b) of this paragraph, submit a report as follows:
(i) If a solution has been found in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (d) of this paragraph, the Committee shall, in its report, limit itself to a brief description of the facts and the solution involved;
(ii) If a solution could not be found in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (d) of this paragraph, the Committee shall set out in its report the relevant facts concerning the subject matter of the dispute between the States Parties concerned. The text of the written comments and the minutes of the oral comments submitted by the States Parties concerned are attached to the report. The Committee may also communicate to only interested States Parties any views it may consider relevant to this matter.
For each case, the report is communicated to interested States Parties.
2. The States Parties shall file the declaration made in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other States Parties. A statement may be withdrawn at any time by notification addressed to the Secretary-General. This withdrawal is without prejudice to the consideration of any matter that is the subject of a communication already transmitted under this section; no other communication from a State Party shall be received under this article after the Secretary-General has received notification of the withdrawal of the declaration, unless the State Party concerned has made a new declaration.
Article 11. Investigation procedure
1. A State Party to this Protocol may declare at any time that it recognizes the competence of the Committee for the purposes of this article.
2. If the Committee receives credible information indicating that a State Party is seriously or systematically impaired of any of the economic, social and cultural rights set out in the Covenant, it invites that State Party to cooperate with it for the purpose of examining the information so brought to its attention and to make its observations thereon.
3. Based on any observations made by the State Party concerned, as well as any other credible information available to it, the Committee may charge one or more of its members to conduct an investigation and to report urgently to the Committee on its results. This investigation may, when warranted and with the agreement of the State Party, include a visit to the territory of that State.
4. The investigation takes place in the confidentiality and cooperation of the State Party is requested at all stages of the proceedings.
5. After reviewing the results of the investigation, the Committee shall communicate them to the State Party concerned, accompanied, where appropriate, by observations and recommendations.
6. After being informed of the results of the investigation and the Committee's observations and recommendations, the State Party shall submit its observations to the Committee within six months.
7. Upon completion of the investigation procedure under paragraph 2 of this article, the Committee may, after consultations with the State Party concerned, decide to include a summary record of the results of the proceedings in its annual report under Article 15 of this Protocol.
8. Any State Party having made the declaration provided for in paragraph 1 of this article may, at any time, withdraw that declaration by notification addressed to the Secretary-General.
Article 12. Follow-up to the investigation procedure
1. The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its report under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant detailed information on the measures it has taken as a result of an investigation under article 11 of this Protocol.
2. At the end of the six-month period referred to in Article 11, paragraph 6, the Committee may, if necessary, invite the State Party concerned to inform it of the measures taken following such an investigation.
Article 13. Protection measures
The State Party shall take all necessary measures to ensure that persons under its jurisdiction are not subjected to any form of ill-treatment or intimidation as they address the Communications Committee under this Protocol.
Article 14. International assistance and cooperation
1. The Committee shall transmit, if it deems it necessary, and with the consent of the State Party concerned, to the specialized agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations and other relevant bodies, its observations or recommendations concerning communications and requests indicating a need for technical advice or assistance, together with, where appropriate, the comments and suggestions of the State Party on such observations or recommendations.
2. The Committee may also bring to the attention of these entities, with the consent of the State Party concerned, any matter raised by the communications under this Protocol that may assist them in deciding, each in its own sphere of competence, on the appropriateness of international measures to assist the State Party in advancing the implementation of the rights recognized in the Covenant.
3. It will be established, in accordance with the relevant procedures of the General Assembly, a trust fund, to be administered in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, to provide States Parties with specialized and technical assistance, with the consent of the State Party concerned, for the better application of the rights recognized in the Covenant, so as to contribute to the strengthening of national capacities in the field of economic, social and cultural rights in the context of the Covenant.
4. The provisions of this article do not prejudge the obligation of each State Party to fulfil its commitments under the Covenant.
Article 15. Annual report
In its annual report, the Committee includes a summary of its activities under this Protocol.
Article 16. Dissemination and information
Any State Party undertakes to make the Covenant and the present Protocol widely known and disseminated, as well as to facilitate access to information on the Committee's Views and Recommendations, in particular for cases concerning that State Party, and to do so in a manner accessible to persons with disabilities.
Article 17. Signature, ratification and accession
1. This Protocol shall be open for signature by all States that have signed, ratified or acceded to the Covenant.
2. This Protocol is subject to ratification by any State that has ratified or acceded to the Covenant. Instruments of ratification will be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. This Protocol shall be open to the accession of any State that has ratified or acceded to the Covenant.
4. Membership shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 18. Entry into force
1. This Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the tenth instrument of ratification or accession.
2. For each State ratifying this Protocol, after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or accession, the Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit by that State of its instrument of ratification or accession.
Article 19. Amendments
1. Any State Party may propose an amendment to this Protocol and submit it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall communicate the amendment proposals to the States Parties, asking them whether they are in favour of convening a meeting of the States Parties with a view to examining these proposals and deciding on them. If, within four months of the date of this communication, at least one third of the States Parties shall vote in favour of convening such a meeting, the Secretary-General shall convene the meeting under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a two-thirds majority of the States Parties present and voting shall be submitted for approval to the General Assembly of the United Nations and then for acceptance to all States Parties.
2. Any amendment adopted and approved in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which the number of instruments of acceptance reaches two thirds of the number of States Parties on the date of its adoption. Subsequently, the amendment comes into force for each State Party on the thirtieth day following the deposit by that State of its instrument of acceptance. The amendment only binds States Parties that have accepted it.
Article 20. Denunciation
1. Any State Party may denounce this Protocol at any time by sending a written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The denunciation takes effect six months after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
2. The provisions of this Protocol shall continue to apply to any communication submitted pursuant to Articles 2 and 10 or to any proceedings initiated pursuant to Article 11 before the date on which the denunciation takes effect.
Article 21. Notification by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all States referred to in article 26, paragraph 1, of the Covenant:
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions;
(b) The effective date of this Protocol and any amendment adopted under Article 19;
(c) Any denunciation under section 20.
Article 22. Official languages
1. This Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, will be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit a certified true copy of this Protocol to all States referred to in article 26 of the Covenant.
(4) Declaration
“The Kingdom of Belgium recognizes the competence of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- to receive, in accordance with Article 10 of the Optional Protocol, notifications from a State Party which states that another State Party does not comply with its obligations, or
- to conduct, in accordance with articles 11 and 12 of the Optional Protocol, an investigation into serious and systematic violations by a State party of one of the economic, social and cultural rights described in the Covenant. »

List of related States