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Strategic Priorities

Our programmatic priorities seek to build upon existing areas of work which have proven successful and to expand current programmatic work areas to critical issues where we believe we can make a meaningful contribution using our distinct strategies. They seek to maintain a coherent (yet diverse) body of advocacy work leading to tangible results and impact; maintain quality expertise on ESC rights generally; and ensure balance between programme areas in terms of staff capacities and resources.

 

Priority themes:

 

  1. Justiciability and Enforcement of ESC rights: We use strategic litigation and legal advocacy to advance justiciability with the aim of ESC rights being legally protected and enforceable at both the international and national level and with a progressive understanding and interpretations that reflect the experiences of those affected by violations of such rights.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Parallel Reporting and Managing Individual Complaints, particularly to CESCR and the HRComm, including as part of the ESCR-Net Strategic Litigation Working Group, so that Concluding Observations and judgements of treaty bodies address systemic violations of social rights, including by requiring positive obligations to be fulfilled. This work also implies analyzing interventions by States, queries by the Committees, and researching, drafting and submission of written legal briefs to the Committees.
  • Inputting into Special Procedures with a particular focus on the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and other Special Rapporteurs as relevant, so that Special Procedures address systemic violations of social rights, including by requiring positive obligations to be fulfilled.

 

  1. Women’s rights to land and productive resources: We work to advance standards around women’s rights to land and productive resources, and their implementation, highlighting the importance of these rights to gender equality, food security, HIV prevention, and women’s economic autonomy.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Parallel Reporting addressing women’s rights to land and productive resources. Parallel reporting is always done as far as possible with in-country partners, supporting those partners to engage in person with review processes in Geneva.
  • Supporting in-country follow up activities (for example, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ghana) aimed at implementation of successful Concluding Observations and other standards produced as a result of this work, for example, the CEDAW General Recommendation on the Rights of Rural Women.
  • Raising the profile of women’s rights to land and productive resources at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, including through continued advocacy with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa. This work entails reporting on country situations, as well as activities aimed at implementing Resolution 262 of the ACHPR on women’s rights to land and productive resources, as well as the upcoming General Comment on article 7(d) of the Maputo Protocol which addresses women’s rights to property within the context of marriage and divorce.
  • Holding an annual meeting on women’s land rights in Africa, bringing together key partners working at international, regional and national levels.
  • Engaging in discussions and consultations by UN human rights bodies and special procedures on various issues (climate change, violence against women, etc.), raising the profile of women’s rights to land and productive resources.

 

  1. Private actors and social rights: We work to deepen the research on the impact of the increasing role of private actors in education and to highlight the obligation of States to protect and fulfill ESC rights, and to offer a thoughtful response to privatization and its impact on the enjoyment of ESC rights in practice.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Developing and advancing a set of normative Guiding Principles addressing the role of private actors in education.
  • Working with various stakeholders and providing leadership within partnerships related to human right standards and how they apply to instances of privatization and private actors.
  • Working with the UN treaty bodies, the Human Rights Council and Special Rapporteurs to highlight the ramifications of privatization in the area of social rights, and using pronouncements to make positive change at national levels.

 

  1. Increasing awareness and visibility of ESC rights: We provide periodic ‘Advocacy Updates’ and ‘Updates from Geneva’ which highlight important advancements, events and discussions related to ESC rights, as well as thought pieces, Practitioner’s Guides and other resources, which have been appreciated and widely shared by partners.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Preparing and disseminating periodic ‘Advocacy Updates’ and ‘Updates from Geneva’ which highlight important advancements, events and discussions related to ESC rights.
  • Preparation of a Practitioner’s Guide on Women’s Rights to Land and Productive Resources.
  • Providing guest blogs and articles on issues of importance within the field of ESC rights.

 

Additional areas of work (i.e. where we take advantage of strategic opportunities to engage):

 

  1. Corporate accountability: We work to hold corporate actors accountable for ESC rights violations and to build an international legal framework which ends impunity for corporate actors by emphasizing the obligation of States to effectively protect ESC rights both domestically and abroad.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Engaging with CESCR to develop a new General Comment on ESC rights in the context of business activities.

 

  1. Water and sanitation: We work to advance standards around the rights to water and to sanitation, highlighting how lack of access to adequate water and sanitation affects the dignity, health, and well-being of the world’s poor and raising the recognition of the right to sanitation to be on par with the right to water.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Engaging with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, including in relation to his forthcoming report on gender equality and the rights to water and sanitation.

 

  1. ESC rights defenders: We work to ensure that the rights of human rights defenders working on issues such as ESC rights are increasingly protected and given the space needed for their crucial advocacy.

 

Current and recent activities

  • Engaging with CESCR to issue a statement on ESC rights defenders. In May 2016, GI-ESCR helped to coordinate a letter from over 300 civil society organizations which called the attention of CESCR to the situation of human rights defenders working on ESC rights issues.
  • GI-ESCR also helped to coordinate a briefing for Committee members on the situation of human rights defenders working on ESC rights, giving examples of the situation in Brazil, Pakistan and Southern Africa and in relation to the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the right to water, the right to education and labour rights.

 

  1. Human rights dimensions of climate change: We work to highlight the ESC rights impacts of climate change and to develop an independent right to sustainable energy, building upon advocacy done at the nexus of water-energy-food security, and building upon the new SDGs.

 

Current and recent activities

Working together with partners to prepare joint written and oral submissions for CEDAW’s day of discussion on “gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction and climate change” and the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s day of discussion on “children’s rights and the environment” highlighting specific impacts related to ESC rights.

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Weekend Masses in English

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Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
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Weekend Masses In Español

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Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

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