UN: Children's rights and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Right

All human rights apply to children, but even with the advent of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 25 years ago, which set out specific rights for children, violations of their economic, social and cultural rights continue unabated.

Extreme poverty affects children even in the richest countries; decisions around family and alternative care are not always made with the best interests of the child in mind; millions of children are denied access to quality, sometimes life saving, health care; and more than 75 million children are excluded from primary education, with children of all ages denied access to quality education that encourages their participation and critical thinking.

Additionally, article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Covenant) states that the fulfillment of economic, social and cultural rights can only be achieved over time, and therefore calls for the progressive realisation of these rights. This has sometimes made it difficult to link deprivations of rights to policy failures, limiting the avenues to hold governments accountable for violations of these rights.

While economic, social and cultural rights are recognised specifically for children in the CRC, the review by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee) of States’ obligations under the Covenant provides a strong platform to further elaborate these rights for children.

In this context, in 2011, CRIN launched the Children’s Rights Wiki (the Wiki), an online tool which brings together all information about children’s rights country by country. The aim is to draw a clear picture of persistent violations of children’s rights in a given country, as raised by UN human rights mechanisms, with the eventual goal of matching them with avenues of redress. The extracts also reveal gaps in reporting on certain violations of children’s rights by civil society.

This analysis of children’s rights in the concluding observations and general comments of the Committee looks at how the Covenant is interpreted for children, focusing on the most frequently raised violations as well as those that are rarely - if ever - addressed.

The aim is twofold: we hope to encourage the Committee to address all children’s rights, and to help advocates strengthen their reporting on children’s rights issues.

The analysis is evolving, rather than comprehensive, and is meant as a starting point for others to take on. We welcome comments at [email protected]



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