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 The General Comment No. 19 is a follow up on General Comment No. 5 of 2003 on general measures of implementation of the Convention. It’s said that these measures are too complex and hence the need to simplify the specific elements. The utilization of public budgets is one of the elements that have been simplified in General Comment No. 19. This general comment includes points raised during a Committee meeting held in 2007 regarding the responsibility of the states in terms of the resources for children rights.

Budget Principles

a) Better investment in the rights of the child. This is contained in the Human Rights Council Resolution 28/19. It aims at increasing the level of transparency, participation, spending, allocation, international cooperation, child protection and follow-up in terms of investment in children.

b) The General Assembly made a resolution number 28/218 which promotes transparency, accountability and participation in all fiscal policies. This encourages member states to intensify efforts to increase transparency, participation and accountability in fiscal policies.

c) The GC No. 19 was also informed by numerous wide consultations held by the Committee with all stakeholders including children.

Globally, 2,693 children from 71 countries were consulted through an online survey. Boys and girls from diversified backgrounds made their contributions.

Here is what children said in the surveys conducted by Committee on the Right of the Child (CRC):

  • Plan well. Allocate enough money to provide for all children rights.
  • Involve us in decision-making. We know what we want.
  • Include children with special needs in your budgets.
  • Involve yourself in fairly and wise spending.
  • Investing in children is investing for a better future.
  • Avoid corruption
  • Invest in our families too.
  • Listen to all people’s opinions in matters of governance.
  • Publish and publicize records on expenditure.
  • Promote accountability and transparency.
  • Avail budget information to the children in a language that is easily understood and through media popular with children.

This general comment addresses the management of states’ finances that directly or indirectly affects the lives of children within their territories.     

In the Committee’s examination if reports submitted by states and its discussions with state representatives and its concluding observations, it has raised concerns regarding the size of the budget and whether it is sufficient to realize the rights of the child. The argues that investing in the rights of the child has a positive effect on future economic growth, sustainable as well as participatory development. This will be a long term positive impact.

The Committee has made it clear that there is need for all State parties to take into consideration all child rights all stages in the budget-making processes. This should be embraced at both the national and sub-national levels.

All stakeholders in the budgeting process such as the media, families, national human rights organizations, children and Civil Society Organizations should actively participate in promoting the rights of the child. The state has the responsibility of proving an enabling environment for meaningful and active citizen participation in the budgeting process.

The state has the obligation to collect, generate and disseminate data and information to support the design and subsequent implementation of appropriate policies, budgets, legislation and programmes to promote and protect the rights of the child.

There should be no diversion of public resources in a manner that adheres to their obligation of implementation.

General Principles

  1. Right to non-discrimination: States are obliged to protect children from all types of discrimination irrespective of the sex, colour, religion, language, social origin, guardian’s or parent’s race, ethic or national origin, birth, disability or any other status.
  2. Best interests of the child: This shall be the primary consideration in all actions concerning the children in the state.
  3. Right to life, survival and development: All children have a right to life. It is the obligation of all state parties to ensure development and survival of all children. Therefore, the states should be committed towards making visible all parts of the budget that will directly or indirectly affect children of different age groups.
  4. The Committee recognizes that investment in Early Childhood Development has a great positive impact on breaking the poverty cycles and the associated high economic returns. Any under-investment in children’s early lives has negative impact on their development and can lead to inequality as well as inter-generational poverty.
  5. Right to be heard: Children have a right to freely express themselves in all matters affecting them. Those views should be taken seriously depending on how old the child is and her or his maturity level.
  6. There should be meaningful children participation in the budgeting process at the national and sub-national levels. The state should provide feedback to those who participated.
  7. Transparency in the budgeting process is a prerequisite for meaningful citizen participation.
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