Menu: What is the European Committee of Social Rights? | Child rights and the European Social Charter | How does the Committee monitor compliance with the Charter? |
What kind of child rights breaches does the Committee address?
What is the European Committee of Social Rights?
The European Committee of Social Rights was created by Article 25 of the European Social Charter to monitor States’ compliance with the rights contained in the Charter.
The European Social Charter spells out the social and economic rights that States Parties to the Charter must guarantee for people living within their jurisdiction.
The Charter, which was adopted in 1961, revised in 1996 and amended by three additional protocols, has been signed by all 47 Members of the Council of Europe. For an up to date record of which Members have ratified the Charter, see the online list maintained by the Council of Europe.
It complements the European Convention on Human Rights which focuses on civil and political rights and which is monitored by the European Court of Human Rights.
Both the European Committee of Social Rights and the European Court of Human Rights report to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The European Committee of Social Rights is made up of thirteen independent experts who are elected by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers for a period of six years. Mandate holders may be re-elected once.
Child rights and the European Social Charter
States must have accepted at least six ‘hard core’ provisions of the Charter; these are: Articles 1, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 16, 19 and 20. They must also agree to be bound by a number of other articles or numbered paragraphs which they may select. The total number of articles may not be less than 16; the total number of numbered paragraph may not be less than 63.
Some of the rights contained in the Charter specifically relate to children; others have particular relevance to children as family members.
The Charter guarantees the following areas of child rights:
- protection before birth through rights for pregnant women (Articles 8, 11)
- rights of the family (Articles 16, 27, 31)
- legal status of the child (Article 17)
- rights of children in conflict with the law (Article 17)
- health provision (Article 11)
- special protection of children from violence, abuse and sexual exploitation, as well as protection for children without parental care (Articles 17, 7)
- right to education (Articles 10, 15, 17)
- prohibition of child labour (Articles 7, 1)
- working conditions for children aged 15-18 (Article 7)
- rights of migrant children (Article 19)
Read more about child rights and the European Social Charter here: Fact sheet on children’s rights in the European Social Charter.
How does the Committee monitor compliance with the European Social Charter?
The Committee monitors how States are implementing the Charter through a State reporting system and a collective complaints system.
The State reporting system
The Committee has devised a new reporting procedure for States Parties to the Charter which will enter into force in October 2007. The reporting guidelines set out actions needed to bring national legislation in line with the Charter.
States Parties to the Charter will report to the Committee every year (on October 31) on one of the four sets of thematic provisions of the Charter. In this way, each State will report on each set of provisions once every four years. The groupings are:
1. Employment, training and equal opportunities: Articles 1, 9, 10, 15, 18, 20, 24, 25
2. Health, social security and social protection: Articles 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 23, 30
3. Labour rights: Articles 2, 4, 5, 6, 21, 26, 28, 29
4. Children, families, migrants: Articles 7, 8, 16, 17, 19, 27, 31
When the Committee examines State reports, it issues ‘conclusions’ about a State’s compliance with the Charter. These conclusions are available on the European Social Charter database.
Reports submitted by States Parties are available here
Is there any follow up to the Committee’s conclusions?
A Governmental Committee, which is composed of representatives of States Parties, considers questions of non-compliance in the months that follow the publication of conclusions.
If the Committee feels that there is no intention to remedy a violation, it can issue a recommendation to the State concerned through the Committee of Ministers, requesting that it take appropriate measures to do so.
The Governmental Committee publishes an annual report on the European Social Charter which it presents to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The collective complaints system
Complaints of human rights violations may be submitted to the European Committee of Social Rights under a protocol which came into force in 1998.
The list of states that have ratified the protocol can be seen here. States can also recognise the right for national NGOs to lodge collective complaints, though only Finland has done so to date.
The Committee examines the complaint and, if it meets certain criteria, will declare it ‘admissible’.
Written responses are then exchanged between the State and complainant. The Committee may also decide to hold a hearing.
The Committee then takes a decision on the merits of the complaint, which it passes on to the parties concerned and to the Committee of Ministers in a report, which is made public within four months of being submitted.
Finally, the Committee of Ministers adopts a resolution. In some cases it may recommend that the State concerned take specific measures to bring the situation into line with the requirements of the European Social Charter.
What kind of child rights breaches does the Committee address?
The majority of collective complaints of breaches of children’s rights relate to States’ failure to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings under Article 17 of the Charter (the right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic protection). Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Ireland have all had complaints made against them for this reason.
Other cases include the lack of educational provisions made for children with special needs in Bulgaria and France, and the failure to ensure medical care for all children in France.
Previous Publication (general) items
- 21/11/2013: Republic of Serbia: Outcomes and Challenges Regarding the Rights of Children with Intellectual Disabilities
- 21/11/2013: United Kingdom: A Decade of European Union (EU) Daphne Projects in Collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe
- 21/11/2013: Northern Ireland Cooperation Overseas: Early Intervention from Policy to Practice A Social Care Perspective
- 21/11/2013: United Kingdom: Lessons Learned from Health Visiting Services
- 01/11/2013: The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children- Policy Brief
Organisation Contact Details:
Child Rights International Network
2 Pontypool Place
Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257
Last updated 24/11/2011 04:39:09