This briefing has been prepared in the context of the campaign for the drafting and adoption of an Optional Protocol to provide a communications procedure under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
It provides details of an illustrative selection of communications or complaints taken to procedures which already exist under other international or regional human rights treaties, in which the applicant, or one of the applicants, was a child (“child” is defined, as in the CRC, as everyone below the age of 18).
The communications procedures established under other international and regional instruments are open for use by children, because the instruments guarantee particular rights either for “everyone” (as in the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), or for certain defined groups which include both children and adults (such as CEDAW or the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). None of these procedures was designed specifically with children in mind.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child includes civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights. It includes many unique rights for children which are not guaranteed by other existing instruments. Creating a communications procedure under the CRC will enable children and their advocates to pursue breaches of the full range of children’s rights with the Committee on the Rights of the Child – a specialist Committee of experts. It provides an opportunity to design a procedure specifically for children and those working on their behalf.
As this briefing shows, there has been as yet relatively little use of the existing communications procedures and other human rights mechanisms by or on behalf of children. Some have argued that this suggests there is no need for a new procedure under the CRC. But the lack of active advocacy by or on behalf of children is certainly not an indication that they are enjoying general respect for their rights. On the contrary, the increased visibility of the state of the world’s children, through countries’ reports under the CRC and the work of UNICEF and other UN agencies, NGOs and human rights institutions, shows that children in every country of the world continue to suffer widespread and often severe breaches of the full range of their rights. The reporting procedure under the CRC has also shown that in many cases, children do not have adequate or realistic remedies for breaches of their rights at national level. This intensifies the need for access to an international communications procedure under the CRC – complementary to the reporting process - to hold states to account for the full range of obligations they have taken on by ratifying the CRC, and also to encourage the development of appropriate complaints mechanisms and other remedies at national level.
Download the full report: http://www.crin.org/docs/Children's_use_of_complaints_procedures09.doc
Previous Paper: Briefing Paper items
- 04/09/2008: VIOLENCE: Ending Lawful Assault of Children: a foundation for ending sexual exploitation
- 30/07/2008: INDIA: Education programmes for minority children not working
- 05/06/2008: Campaign for a Complaints Mechanism for Children [Russian]
- 20/05/2008: EGYPT: Child law amendments fail to protect 14000 children (Arabic)
- 08/05/2008: EURONET contribution to the EP on Child Poverty and Maltreatment
Organisation Contact Details:
NGO Group for CRC Complaints Mechanism Working Group
Peter Newell on firstname.lastname@example.org or Sara Austin on email@example.com.
Last updated 12/02/2009 09:28:05