New report on child rights-based budgeting

Date: 10th December 2020
Category: Incorporation, Budgeting

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Together was joined over summer 2020 by Sara Helgesson, an LLM Human Rights candidate at the University of Edinburgh. Sara spent three months completing a research placement on child rights-based budgeting. Today, we are delighted to publish her dissertation which presents her findings.

She writes:

“On 1st September, Scottish Government introduced the UNCRC Incorporation Bill. This Bill sets out the Scottish plan to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law.

Incorporation of the UNCRC includes duties on child rights-based budgeting. The budgetary obligations can be found under Article 4 of the UNCRC and includes a duty on governments to use its “Maximum Available Resources” to realise children’s rights.

Resources are required for the State to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights, including social and economic rights. Therefore, states must frequently assess whether they are effectively using the maximum of their available resources to fulfil their duties under the UNCRC. Article 4 of the UNCRC, allows States to thoroughly plan and set goals for the steps needed to meet the obligations of the UNCRC.  This progressive realisation and the allocation of resources should not be mismanaged and result in regressive measures affecting the realisation of children’s rights. Any deliberately regressive measures would require the most careful consideration and would need to be fully justified.

In this dissertation, I analyse these budgetary obligations using a comparative method and case studies from South Africa and Sweden as well as the current international law and research on budgetary obligations in relation to social and economic rights. The findings allowed me to make a series of recommendations to the Scottish government, parliament, and courts. One important recommendation is that when any branch of the state fails to uphold its obligation to allocate resources, Scottish courts should be able to hold the State accountable and ensure that these rights are immediately realised.”

Together would like to congratulate Sara on receiving a Merit for this important piece of research. We wish her the best of luck as she takes her next steps into the world of children’s human rights!