The Collective Complaints System of the European Social Charter: An Effective Mechanism for Ensuring Compliance with Economic and Social Rights?
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
In 1995 the Council of Europe, as part of the revitalization process of the European Social Charter, adopted a Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints. The Protocol came into force in 1998. So far 23 complaints have been lodged under it. The aim of this article is to critically examine the practical operation of this collective complaints system during its first five years. After placing the system in a general human rights context by giving an overview of mechanisms for ensuring compliance with other treaties concerned with economic and social rights, the article then analyses the system for making collective complaints and its functioning in practice to date. The latter part of the article considers the likely utility and effectiveness of the system and concludes that without a major change in the practice hitherto of the Committee of Ministers, the system is unlikely to achieve its objectives.
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