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Print this pageIntroduction to Regional Mechanisms for child rights

Date:

04/08/2100

Organisation:

Child Rights International Network

Resource type:

Publication (general)


Web link http://www.crin.org/law/mechanisms_index.asp


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:What are regional human rights mechanisms? | Find out which complaints mechanisms you can use in your region

 

What are regional human rights mechanisms?

 

States which violate or fail to protect children’s rights can be held to account at a national, regional or international level. Complaints can be brought before regional human rights systems if the complainant has exhausted all avenues available to them in the domestic courts or have been prevented from seeking justice. Regional mechanisms have so far been established for Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean, and Europe*.

Regional human rights systems were developed to reflect regional values and offer a more specific framework than the UN system. Such a framework can resonate more strongly with local realities and allow for different approaches to enforcing standards. Unlike the UN system, both the Inter-American and the African human rights systems spell out the duties that individuals have to society, as well as their rights. The regional systems provide varying degrees of protection for child rights: some have specific instruments and mechanisms to challenge breaches of child rights; others rely on a monitoring body to interpret how a particular treaty applies to child rights. Where there are gaps in the protection of rights, all three regional systems may draw on the UN or other regional systems to interpret how the provisions of human rights instruments apply to children.

CRIN aims to encourage the use of these regional mechanisms through the guide pages linked to below. These pages offer the following information:

  • Explanations of how regional systems can be navigated to challenge breaches of children’s rights, and how they can be used to seek reparation and effect changes in national legislation which will extend protection for children’s rights;
  • Examples of successful cases
  • Glossaries of key terms for each regional system.

*ASEAN has recently established a Women and Children's Commission for Southeast Asia, though this has yet to begin its substantive work (read more under 'Regional bodies and groupings'). While there are political bodies which strive to promote regional cooperation on political and economic issues in the Middle East through the Arab League, no mechanism exists as yet for vindicating child rights.


Search the list of regional mechanisms below to find out what channels are open to you for challenging breaches of child rights in your region:

 

Africa


The African Union has several mechanisms for monitoring child rights: The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child was created by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and it empowers the Committee to consider individual communications.

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, was established by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights The Charter says all of its States Parties must accept that the Commission supervises and monitors all rights enshrined in the Charter. All 53 Member States of the African Union are parties to this Charter.

Click here to see if your country has ratified the African Charter on Human and People's Rights

The African Court on Human and People’s Rights was established by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and People’s Rights. The Protocol entered into force in 2006, but has not yet begun its work. As in the UN human rights system, complaints may also be addressed to Special Procedures – individuals or working groups who are charged with monitoring a particular thematic area of concern, for example women’s rights. There is currently no Special Procedure for child rights, but complaints involving breaches of child rights may be addressed to the other procedures.

Americas


The Organisation of American States (OAS) is a regional grouping which has two main bodies. They hold OAS Member States to account for human rights violations in the Americas and the Caribbean and are called The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Click here to see if your country is an OAS Member

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was established by the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. Complaints may be brought against any Member State of the Organisation of American States. If a State is party to the American Convention on Human Rights, it is held to account for the rights enshrined in this Convention. If a State has not ratified the American Convention, the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man is applied. The Inter-American System has no specific instrument relating to children, but other instruments may be invoked to make individual and inter-State complaints about violations of children’s rights to the Inter-American Commission.

Click here to see if your country has ratified the the American Convention on Human Rights. CRIN’s guide to the Inter-American Commission

A Rapporteur on Child Rights who is appointed by the Commission may receive communications from States, organisations and individuals about a particular thematic issue or country of concern. They may carry out on-site investigations. States must agree to the Rapporteur’s visit.  The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was created by the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court’s decisions are binding. Only the Inter-American Commission and States Parties to the American Convention may present complaints to the Court; individuals must present complaints to the Commission, which may then pass them to the Court. Any State against whom a complaint is presented must have accepted the Court’s jurisdiction to rule on such cases, otherwise the case may only be taken to the Commission.

Find out here if your country has accepted the Court's authority.

Europe

 

The Council of Europe has two mechanisms which can be used to challenge breaches of children’s rights: The European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee of Social Rights. The European Court of Human Rights was established by the European Convention on Human Rights. All Member States of the Council of Europe must abide by the Court’s judgements; failure to do so can lead to expulsion from the Council of Europe. Click here to see if your country has ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms The European Committee of Social Rights was created by the European Social Charter; States must have ratified the Protocol to the Charter which entered into force in 1998. This Committee, which protects social and economic rights, complements the work of the European Court of Human Rights which protects civil and political rights. The Committee can review complaints filed against States that have also ratified teh Protocol to the European Social Charter providing for a communication procedure. Find out here if your country has ratified the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter Providing for a System of Collective Complaints

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Last updated 27/02/2012 13:45:16

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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