Children's Rights Under Regional Human Rights Law – A Tale of Harmonisation?
Due to appear in Buckley, Donald and Leach (eds), Harmonisation of International Human Rights Law (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff, Forthcoming)
20 Pages Posted: 23 May 2015
Date Written: May 19, 2015
This chapter focuses on an area where a high level of harmonisation between international and regional human rights protection is evident: the rights of the child. All of the major regional human rights systems – the African, the Inter-American and the Council of Europe – accord explicit protection to child rights and the key institutions within those systems have engaged directly with such rights in a range of different contexts. The aim of this chapter is not, however, to provide a comprehensive analysis of how regional judicial and quasi-judicial bodies have approached children’s rights. Rather, its focus is on the extent to which the regional systems take into account the key international instrument on children’s rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In doing so, the authors will consider those entities’ use of the work of the body mandated to monitor that instrument, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Ultimately, this chapter concludes that the growing reference to, and employment of, the CRC by regional human rights bodies has contributed to an increasing harmonisation of regional approaches to children’s rights. This level of harmonisation is a strong testament to the influence of that instrument given both the diverse challenges faced by children in Europe, Africa and Americas, and the variations in approach to children’s rights in the basic instruments of the regional human rights systems under consideration. Although there are many factors that result in the CRC playing a different role vis-à-vis the work of the various regional mechanisms, it is increasingly clear that the CRC is the tie that binds in child rights protection at the regional as well as the international level.
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