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Strengthening accountability

In recent years, there has been increased interest in anchoring international human rights obligations within national laws and policies. Although standard-setting at the international level continues to be important, ensuring implementation has become a core priority on the human rights agenda. Huge strides have been made in instituting new mechanisms of accountability at both the national and international levels — including judicial, administrative, political and social mechanisms. Nevertheless, enforcement of economic and social rights by these mechanisms is sometimes weak and ineffective.

CESR seeks to strengthen the recognition and enforcement of economic and social rights by these mechanisms of accountability. We so by raising awareness of comparative lack of attention economic and social rights receive from these mechanisms; fostering dialogue how the functions of these mechanisms can be applied towards economic and social rights; and undertaking capacity building work directly with those mechanisms that have the potential to increase their engagement of economic and social rights.

At the national level, CESR supports efforts that target all branches of government (the legislature, executive and judiciary), as well as official oversight bodies such as national human rights institutions. CESR also challenges the obstacles which prevent progressive legal decisions and norms from being implemented and translated into policy changes in practice. Finally, CESR provides capacity support to bodies such as national ombudsmen and human rights institutions to strengthen their role as independent oversight mechanisms at the national level.

At the international level, CESR seeks to contribute to the strengthening of accountability mechanisms within the United Nations Human Rights System, including the Optional Protocol to the International covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).