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The Growing Rights Instead of Poverty Partnership (GRIPP),  aims to bring together lived and learnt experience to build a bridge out of poverty. The partnership is made up of representatives from Amnesty International UK, ATD Fourth World UK, Intisaar, Just Fair, RAPAR and Thrive Teesside, along with facilitators Susanna Hunter-Darch and Dr Rhetta Moran. 

The project was mainly held online since its establishment in 2019. That is until some of us were able to meet in person at the first GRIPP residential back in October. We travelled from Bury, Guildford, London, Manchester, Teesside and Watford and met in Birmingham (with colleagues that couldn’t make it in person joining on Zoom from Northern Ireland and Orkney).

The residential was a huge success and it was agreed that ATD, Inistaar, RAPAR and Thrive would make a joint submission to the United Nations’ Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) for its upcoming review of the UK. 

Talking through the CESCR review process

To better understand what the process would involve, our Human Rights Officer, Lyle Barker, led a workshop for participants that included discussion on:

  • What are economic, social and cultural rights?
  • What is the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)?
  • What is the CESCR review process, and what does it look like?

Human rights systems, and human rights language, are not always easy to grasp (especially in a short amount of time).  So, while we tried to make sure these topics were presented in plain English, we were not perfect, and explaining the complicated nature of the CESCR review process in a non-jargon heavy way difficult.  To help with this, we created a ‘Jargon Buster’ and members of GRIPP asked questions such as ‘what is a treaty?’ and ‘what does compliance mean?’ We worked through some of these questions during the session, and provided accessible descriptions of any terms that were unfamiliar. 

Felix Jakens from Amnesty International UK also presented a useful analogy of how the CESCR review process works, using the United Nations as a teacher that hears back from two sets of children (one being the UK Government, and the other civil society) about a bullying incident that has occurred. 

Whilst still challenging work, these methods helped GRIPP members better understand jargon heavy language and the CESCR review process so that they can engage with this process.

Next steps

Following the residential, members of GRIPP have worked in the last few months on a joint submission for the CESCR 7th review on the UK that places a unique and crucial emphasis on the voices of those with direct experience of economic, social and cultural rights violations. 

This report was submitted to the UN in January 2023. GRIPP will use this submission to help their campaigning work and engagement with the CECSR review in its next stage in 2024.

Read more about the residential here, check out GRIPP’s website and follow @GRIPPUK and @JustFairUK on Twitter for more updates.

Background image by Gabriela Dominguin