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Treaty-based monitoring

The European Social Charter  monitored through a collective complaints mechanism and reports from contracting parties

Article 25, 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:
child labour
access to education of children with disabilities;
protecting children from violence, in particular corporal punishment;
access 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 technologies.

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.

Monitoring 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

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