International Children’s Rights: A Comparative Study of 52 State Parties Concluding Observation Reports, Investigating, Implementation and Legal Incorporation of the UNCRC

  • Fiona MacDonald

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis explores children’s rights in 52 State parties. It compares implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by using the Concluding Observations (CO) reports from the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It then investigates the higher scoring State parties, exploring whether there are commonalities, for instance, in the legal framework including whether the Convention has been incorporated into State legislation.

    The first phase of the project compares the CO report for each State party on ten thematic groups of articles (clusters) from the Convention. In addition to assessing the State party’s implementation, the analysis also reveals which issues the Committee focuses on for each cluster enabling discussion on the prevalence of different issues. The second phase of the project focuses on the State parties which achieved higher grades from the cluster grading process. The profiles of these State parties are investigated as to whether there are commonalities. The type of legal system supporting the implementation of children’s rights for the State parties is investigated, along with the types of legal incorporation of the
    Convention into domestic legislation. The results of the first phase are compared to other human rights and global health indices as a part of understanding the profile of the State parties achieving higher grades.

    The conclusions bring together the strands of the project, critically concluding that the method of comparing CO reports enables State party implementation to be assessed and graded. In addition, this analysis concludes that there is a flaw in the way that that the reporting process has developed to be a continuous cycle, potentially missing vital information as the understanding and interpretation of the Convention by the Committee develops. Further, that the Convention itself can no longer be considered in isolation, it has to be read in conjunction with the general comments and guidelines on reporting published by the Committee. This thesis confirms the importance of legal incorporation at the domestic level, additionally this concept is taken further with the conclusion that deliberate incorporation rather than automatic can be essential to implementation.
    Additionally, this method can be used to demonstrate to a State party which clusters or rights are not being adequately implemented. Ultimately, this project adds to the knowledge and understanding of both the reporting process connected to the Convention, and of the implementation of children’s rights.
    Date of Award27 Jul 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRuth Gaffney-Rhys (Supervisor), Alexandra Dobson (Supervisor) & Howard Williamson (Supervisor)

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