NGO Impact on Law-making - Erdem Turkelli, G.; Vandenhole, W.; Vandenbogaerde, A.

NGO Impact on Law-making: The Case of a Complaints Procedure under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been strongly involved in law-making on children's rights, as has been documented for the drafting process of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC–OPAC). In article 45 of the CRC, they have been given a formal position in monitoring these instruments. While NGOs have been instrumental in putting a complaints procedure about violations of the CRC on the agenda, they seem to have failed to impact substantially on the norm-setting itself during the drafting process on the Optional Protocol providing for a complaints procedure (OP III CRC), which was adopted in December 2011. Similarly, NGOs have been given quite some space for involvement in the state reporting procedure under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). They faced considerable difficulties in putting the Optional Protocol to the Covenant (OP–CESCR) on the agenda, but proved successful in the end. Here too, their impact on the actual norm-setting seems to have been in the end limited, although it was unmistakably greater than with regard to the OP III CRC. This article seeks to understand this somewhat paradoxical finding – that is, strong involvement in the work of the monitoring bodies, but limited impact on recent norm-setting on complaints mechanisms – by documenting the role NGOs have played in law-making processes on both these complaints mechanisms. The article analyses degrees of impact through the conceptual prisms of repertoires of NGO participation and alignment of frames.


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