Economic and Social Rights, Budgets and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

in The International Journal of Children's Rights
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Recent years have seen an explosion in methodologies for monitoring children’s economic and social rights (ESR). Key examples include the development of indicators, benchmarks, child rights-based budget analysis and child rights impact assessments. The Committee on the Right of the Child has praised such tools in its work and has actively promoted their usage. Troublingly, however, there are serious shortcomings in the Committee’s approach to the ESR standards enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which threaten to impact upon the efficacy of such methodologies. This article argues that the Committee has failed to engage with the substantive obligations imposed by Article 4 and many of the specific ESR guaranteed in the CRC in sufficient depth. As a result, that body has not succeeded in outlining a coherent, comprehensive child rights-specific ESR framework. Using the example of child rights-based budget analysis, the author claims that this omission constitutes a significant obstacle to those seeking to evaluate the extent to which states have met their ESR-related obligations under the CRC. The article thus brings together and addresses key issues that have so far received only very limited critical academic attention, namely, children’s ESR under the CRC, the relationship between budgetary decision-making and the CRC, and child rights-based budget analysis.

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  • 71)

     See e.g. M. Nyongesa WabwileLegal Protection of Social and Economic Rights of Children in Developing Countries: Reassessing International Cooperation and Responsibility (Antwerp: Intersentia2010) Chapter 2. ; G Van Bueren ‘Combating Child Poverty: Human Rights Approaches’ (1999) 21(33) Human Rights Quarterly 680 690

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  • 84)

    UN Doc CRC/C/58/Rev.2 (2010) para. 19(d).

  • 136)

    As of 6 June 2013there were 36 signatories and six parties to the Optional Protocol. Ten ratifications are required before the Optional Protocol comes into force.

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