Document Type


Publication Date



International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, (ICESCR), Optional Protocol to the ICESCR, Right to education


Education Law | Human Rights Law | International Law


Nearly fifteen years ago, Audrey Chapman emphasized the importance of ascertaining violations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as a means to enhance its enforcement. Today, this violations approach is even more salient given the recent adoption of the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. This article focuses on the right to education in the ICESCR to illustrate how indicators can be employed to ascertain treaty compliance and violations. Indicators are important to enforcing economic, social, and cultural rights because they assist in measuring progressive realization. The methodology that we propose calls for: 1) analyzing the specific language of the treaty that pertains to the right in question; 2) defining the concept and scope of the right; 3) identifying appropriate indicators that correlate with state obligations; 4) setting benchmarks to measure progressive realization; and 5) clearly identifying violations of the right in question.

Publication Citation

Published in: Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 2 (2009-2010).