Joint Committee on Human Rights Written Evidence

7.  Letter from Carolyne Willow, National Co-ordinator, Children's Rights Alliance for England

  I was very pleased to have the opportunity to give oral evidence on the Bill of Rights, and would like to offer some further information relating to any qualifications on the enjoyment of economic and social rights that be introduced into a British Bill of Rights.

  As I indicated in the session, we are aware of the provisions in the South African constitution relating to the right to health care, food, water and social security that permit the State to take reasonable measures within available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights.

  I said in the session that there is no fully equivalent provision in article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, dealing with the child's right to health and health care. I regret that I omitted to mention that in article 27, dealing with the child's right to an adequate standard of living, there is reference to States Parties acting "in accordance with national conditions and within their means". However, these qualifications must be seen against the overarching requirement in article 4 that, in relation to economic, social and cultural rights, "States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources". UNICEF considers it is "doubtful" whether the qualifications in article 27 dilute the requirements of article 4.[44]

  I hope the inquiry is going well, and very much look forward to reading the Committee's report.

24 January 2008

44   UNICEF (2002) Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Back

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