2nd session of the Open-ended Working Group on an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Statement by Ms. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Open-ended Working Group established by the Commission on Human Rights to consider options regarding the elaboration of an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 14 January 2005
Full statement ...


The Commission on Human Rights established the working group by its resolution 2003/18 and decided to continue the mandate for a further two years by its resolution 2004/29.

In paragraph 14 of its resolution 2004/29, the Commission decided:

(a) To renew the mandate of the open-ended working group for a period of two years to consider options regarding the elaboration of an optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

(b) To authorize the working group to meet for 10 working days prior to the sixty-first as well as the sixty-second sessions of the Commission on Human Rights;

(c) To invite a representative of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to attend these meetings as a resource person;

(d) To request the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the working group to identify experts who could be invited to future sessions of the working group, including:

i) Representatives of those treaty bodies with individual complaints procedures, in particular a representative of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women;
ii) Representatives of regional human rights mechanisms;
iii) Representatives of the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in relation to complaints mechanisms within the mandates of these organizations;
iv) Special rapporteurs of the Commission on Human Rights;

(e) To request the Secretary-General to submit to the working group, at its second session, a report containing a comparative summary of existing communications and inquiry procedures and practices under international human rights instruments and under the United Nations system;


The working group is an open-ended working group. This means that all UN Member and Observer States , inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations with ECOSOC consultative status may attend public meetings of the working group.


All in-session and background documents.


The working group met from 10 January to 21 January 2005.


The working group took place in Room XVII at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.


The working group had two daily sessions from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00.

Registration and accreditation

Experts and representatives of States, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other organizations including non-governmental organizations in possession of an identity badge issued by UNOG Security and Safety Section, valid for the duration of the session, will have unrestricted access to public sessions of the working group.

Any other person without a UNOG identity badge should apply for accreditation to the session.

States and organizations wishing to accredit representatives to the second session of the working group are invited to complete the registration form and send it, together with their signed request for accreditation to Simon Walker either by email (swalker@ohchr.org), by fax on +41 22 917 90 10 or by mail to UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10.

Registration prior to the session will ensure that a badge will be available from 9am on 10 January 2005 at the Villa les Feuillantines, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, 1211, Geneva , opposite the Palais des Nations. The accreditation office at the Villa les Feuillantines will remain open from 9:00 to 2:00 during the session.