CRC COMPLAINTS MECHANISM: Twenty States sign new Optional Protocol

Summary: Twenty States today signed the new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a complaints mechanism.

[GENEVA, 28 February 2012] - Twenty States signed the new complaints mechanism under the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the Human Rights Council session in Geneva today.

There will be more on the signing ceremony in tomorrow's CRINMAIL:

List of signatories

The following States signed the Optional Protocol: Slovakia, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Portugal, Serbia, Uruguay. Brazil, Chile, Germany, Morocco, Montenegro, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Peru.

      Find out how you can get your State to sign here.

        Not perfect, but an achievement

          Mr Drahoslav Stefanek of Slovakia, Chairperson for the Working Group, said: "The Optional Protocol didn't fully meet our expectations, however what we have achieved is an enormous accomplishment." He also stated that including the two Optional Protocols in the complaints mechanism was "one of the best results of the negotiations."

          Mr Stefanek concluded by paying tribute to the NGO community, and urging States to ratify the Optional Protocol as quickly as possible so that it can enter into force.

          Children recognised as rights-holders

          Mr Jean Zermantten, the Chairperson for the Committee on the Rights of the Child, addressed the meeting via a video link. He said the new Optional Protocol "recognises children as rights-holders" and stressed the importance of the Committee's new task in receiving complaints.

          Only the beginning

          Lisa Myers, from the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, spoke on behalf of all NGOs and hailed the importance of the new Optional Protocol, saying it sends "a powerful signal of States' commitment to children". She said: "for rights to have meaning, international redress must be available."

          Ms Myers praised Slovakia for taking the lead early in the process at a time where not too many States were backing the initiative. She also praised children's rights organisations throughout the world for their efforts in turning a complaints mechanism into a reality.

          Finally, she expressed her appreciation to States who had signalled their intention to sign the Optional Protocol, but said that this was only the beginning of the process and called upon States to ratify as soon as possible.

          What happens next?

          The Optional Protocol will remain open for signature in New York for other States to sign. The ratification process now begins.

          Further Information

          To learn more about the new Optional Protocol, the campaign process, and the implications for children, click here.


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