The European Social Charter – monitored through a collective
complaints mechanism and reports from contracting parties
Part IV of the
European Social Charter establishes a Group of Experts, now called the
European Committee of Social Rights, to monitor compliance. Article C in
part IV of the
Revised European Social Charter binds it to the same of supervision as
that of the Charter.
The collective complaints mechanism was established by the
Additional Protocol to European Social Charter providing for a system of
collective complaints. Unlike a mechanism based upon individual
complaints, it requires neither a victim nor that domestic remedies be
exhausted. This system allows certain designated organisations to lodge
complaints, thus involving non-governmental organisations, mainly
international, and other social partners in the ECSR monitoring system. The
ECSR also participates in training sessions for young lawyers on how to
lodge collective complaints, in particular on behalf of Roma.
Allowing third parties such as NGOs to lodge complaints with the ECSR has
proved particularly effective in protecting the rights of children, who due
to their age and vulnerability are unable to manage their own rights or
recognise potential situations of danger. Many of the collective complaints
lodged with the ECSR cover such issues as:
to education of children with disabilities;
children from violence, in particular corporal punishment;
to health care for children of irregular migrants.
Articles 7 (right of children and young persons to protection) and Article
17 (right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic
protection) relate exclusively to children. Article 17,
paragraph 1, also integrates the rights guaranteed by the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child into the Revised Charter. The
ECSR has interpreted this article as requiring a prohibition in legislation
against any form of violence against children, which takes in corporal
punishment in all setting, including the home. See especially the complaints
lodged by the World Organisation against Torture:
Nos. 21, 18, 17 /2003, and No. 34/ 2006.
The ECSR has also broadened the scope of its Article 7, paragraph 10 which
ensures special protection against physical and moral dangers to cover the
protection of children against trafficking and the misuse of information
Decisions are adopted on the basis of ruling on collective complaints. If a
state takes no action on a committee decision, the Committee of Ministers
addresses a recommendation to that state, asking it to rectify the situation
in law and/or in practice.
is also carried out through a system of reports from the contracting
parties, and for which the ECSR adopts conclusions. Both
conclusions and decisions can be consulted on the general ECSR website and
on the Hudoc database.
the European Social Charter website
the European Committee of Social Rights website
the European Social Charter case law fact sheet on children's rights
HUDOC database for ECSR decisions and conclusions
Treaty-based monitoring continued...
Other independent human rights