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International Framework on Positive Action

  • Jozefien Van Caeneghem
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the international framework on positive action. It zooms in on the applicable instruments at the level of the United Nations and on the work of the treaty-monitoring bodies to uncover (1) whether the adoption of positive action is optional or mandatory, (2) which conditions must be fulfilled, and (3) which type(s) of measures can be adopted for equality and anti-discrimination purposes. The chapter first explores the context-dependency of the permissive or mandatory nature of positive action by analysing the practices of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. It also expands on their demand for a reasonable, objective, and proportional justification for special measures. Next, it covers their focus on remedial and cultural aims, their case-by-case consideration of the scrutiny test to be applied in relation to the proportionality requirement and their ban on the maintenance of permanent, separate standards and rights for different groups. Furthermore, this chapter reflects on the wide diversity of measures that are permitted according to the treaty-monitoring bodies. Lastly, it is considered whether the United Nations pursues equality of opportunities or equality of results, before explaining that the intensity of permitted measures depends on the goals pursued and the needs of the individuals or groups concerned in a specific context.

References

Legal Instruments

    United Nations

    1. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (31 December 2006) A/RES/61/106Google Scholar
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    Council of Europe

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    European Union

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    National Level

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Non-legally Binding Instruments

    United Nations

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Case Law

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Country Monitoring

    Human Rights Committee

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    Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

    1. Concluding Observations on Costa Rica (4 January 2008) E/C.12/CRI/CO/4Google Scholar

    Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

    1. Concluding Observations on Namibia (27 September 1996) CERD/C/304/Add.16Google Scholar

    European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance

    1. Second Report on Spain (13 December 2002) CRI(2003)40Google Scholar

General Comments and Recommendations

    Human Rights Committee

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    2. General Comment No. 18: Non-Discrimination (10 November 1989) HRI/GEN/1/Rev.6 (2003)Google Scholar
    3. General Comment No. 28: Article 3 (The equality of rights between men and women) (29 March 2000) CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.10Google Scholar
    4. General Comment No. 23: Article 27 (Rights of Minorities) (26 April 1994) CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.5Google Scholar

    Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

    1. General Comment No. 5: Persons with disabilities (9 December 1994) E.1995/22Google Scholar
    2. General Comment No. 13: The Right to Education (Art. 13) (8 December 1999) E/C.12/1999/10Google Scholar
    3. General Comment No. 16: The Equal Right of Men and Women to the Enjoyment of All Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art. 3) (13 May 2005) E/C.12/2005/3Google Scholar
    4. General Comment No. 20: Non-Discrimination in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art. 2, para. 2) (2 July 2009) E/C.12/GC/20Google Scholar

    Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

    1. General Recommendation No. 8: Identification with a particular racial or ethnic group (Art. 1, paras. 1 & 4) (22 August 1990) A/45/18 (1991)Google Scholar
    2. General Recommendation No. 19: Article 3 of the Convention (17 August 1995) A/50/18 (1995)Google Scholar
    3. General Recommendation No. 27: Discrimination against Roma (16 August 2000) A/55/18, annex V (2000)Google Scholar
    4. General Recommendation No. 29: Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Convention (Descent) (1 November 2002) A/57/18 at 111 (2002)Google Scholar
    5. General Recommendation No. 32: The meaning and scope of special measures in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (24 September 2009) CERD/C/GC/32Google Scholar

    Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

    1. General Recommendation No. 5: Temporary special measures (1988) A/43/38Google Scholar
    2. General Recommendation No. 23: Political and Public Life (1997) A/52/38/Rev.1Google Scholar
    3. General Recommendation No. 25: Article 4, paragraph 1, of the CEDAW, on Temporary Special Measures (2004) A/59/38 (Annex I)Google Scholar

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jozefien Van Caeneghem
    • 1
  1. 1.BrusselsBelgium

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