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UN General Comment

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted its General comment No. 16 on State obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children’s rights in February 2013.  Below is information about the consultations prior to the adoption of the General Comment as well as news and commentaries on its implementation.

Full text of General Comment: English  Русский  Español

1. Introduction
2. Call for submissions (deadline 20 Apr 2012)
3. Annotated Outline of the General Comment
4. Submissions on the annotated outline
5. Calls for submissions on "Draft One" (deadline 24 Aug 2012)
6. Submissions on "Draft One"
7. Children and adolescents' contributions
8. Final text of the General Comment
9. Implementation news & developments




1. Introduction

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (‘the Committee’) has had a long-standing interest in how the activities and operations of business enterprises affect different aspects of children's lives, and can have both a positive and negative impact on States Parties’ implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Protocols. The Committee recognises that business enterprises can be an essential driver for societies and economies to advance in ways which strengthen the realisation of child rights through, for example, employment generation, technological advances and investment. However, they can also cause, or contribute to, a wide range of violations of child rights.

In this context, the Committee has decided to produce a General Comment on Child Rights and Business that will aim to provide States Parties with a framework for implementation of the Convention as a whole with regard to the business sector. It will include guidance on the measures of implementation that are required to: prevent and remedy violations of child rights by business actors, and ensure business enterprises carry out their responsibilities in the realisation of the rights of the child and encourage business to positively contribute to the realisation of these rights. The General Comment will be guided by the principles of the CRC throughout: the best interests of the child, the right to non-discrimination, the right to be heard and the right to life, survival and development.

In its ongoing drafting process for this General Comment, the Committee has prepared an annotated outline to guide its further deliberations. In addition to multi-stakeholder consultations that it will be undertaking during April and May, the Committee welcomes inputs on draft General Comment based on its annotated outline. Submissions from interested organizations and individuals who have experience or information on State party obligations under the Convention in relation to the business sector would be particularly welcome.


2. Call for submissions (deadline 20 Apr 2012)

Call for submissions on the General Comment (deadline 20 Apr 2012)


4. Submissions on the annotated outline

Submissions on the annotated outline are available here.


5. Calls for submissions on "Draft One" (deadline 24 Aug 2012)

Calls for submissions on "Draft One" of General Comment (deadline 24 Aug 2012)


6. Submissions on "Draft One"

The Committee has made the submissions available on the OHCHR website here.


7. Children and adolescents' contributions

"Children and Adolescents' Contributions to the draft General Comment on Child Rights and Business Sector", Save the Children, Oct 2012


8. Final text of the General Comment

English:  General comment No. 16 on State obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children’s rights

Russian: Замечание общего порядка № 16 об обязательствах государств, касающихся воздействия предпринимательской деятельности на права детей

Spanish: Observación general Nº 16 sobre  las obligaciones del Estado en relación  con el impacto del sector empresarial  en los derechos del niño

9. Implementation news & developments

[Español] Presentación de Carlos López (Comisión Internacional de Juristas), Seminario Internacional “El impacto de las empresas en los derechos de los niños y niñas”, 6 Aug 2013, Lima - Perú
Otras presentaciónes se encuentran aquí.

"The role of business in promoting and respecting the rights of children", Mabel Wong, CSR Asia, 31 Jul 2013
"[T]he General Comment captures some very poignant thoughts, even though they are addressed to government states...are good points for business to consider..." [includes reference to child participation, access to remedy, the importance of not using voluntary actions  to substitute for complying with responsibility to respect children's rights, etc.]

"ICJ hails step towards protection of children against business abuses", Intl. Commission of Jurists, 21 Mar 2013

"General Comment of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on State Obligations regarding the Impact of the Business Sector on Children’s Rights", Nadia Bernaz, Rights as Usual, 18 Mar 2013

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