Signatures to date: 4868
An international call to strengthen the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the drafting and adoption of an Optional Protocol to provide a communications procedure was initiated by a coalition of organisations back in late 2007. After almost four years of campaigning and lobbying, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted the draft text. It will now need to be ratified by the UN General Assembly, most likely this coming Autumn.
- June 2011: HRC Adopts Complaints Mechanism
- January 2011: Second Draft of the Optional Protocol
- December 2010: Report from second Working Group Meeting
- June 2010: Updated Advocacy Toolkit
- March 2010: UN to draft the communications procedure
- March 2010: Discussions underway at the Human Rights Council
- Feb 2010: Official report from the WG meeting
- Jan 2010: Final report of the UN Working Group Meeting (NGO version)
- 3 December 2009: Latest news and Next steps
- 14 - 18 December 09: Working Group Meeting
- 3 July - Update on Resolution and Next Steps
- 21 May 09 - Update from Geneva and Next steps
DEC 09: First meeting of the UN working group in Geneva
FEB 09: Write to your Ministries now - Download the lobbying materials
JUNE 08: Go ahead for ICESCR signals green light for CRC
JUNE 08: Committee on the Rights of the Child endorses campaign
A group of national, regional and international organisations have launched a campaign for an Optional Protocol to the CRC to establish a complaints/communications procedure. We hope you will join us by signing the petition below. This mechanism would strengthen enforcement of the Convention, providing children and their representatives with a channel for pursuing breaches of all the rights guaranteed by the CRC.
What is it?
A complaints or communications procedure allows individuals, groups or their representatives, claiming that their rights have been violated by a State that is a party to a convention or covenant, to bring a communication before the relevant committee, provided that the State has recognised the competence of the committee to receive such complaints.
Why do we need a communications procedure for the CRC?
Eighteen years after adoption of the CRC, the basic human rights of millions of children are still not being met.
The CRC will soon be the only international human rights treaty with mandatory reporting that lacks a communications mechanism to challenge such violations (one is currently being drafted for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and all other instruments have one). This is a serious matter of discrimination against children.
A communications mechanism would allow children and their advocates to appeal when domestic or regional remedies fail or simply do not exist. It would provide new pressure on States Parties to fulfil their obligations and also encourage them to provide effective remedies at national level.
While children and their representatives can use the mechanisms already established under other international instruments to pursue many of their rights, those instruments do not cover, separately or together, the full range and detail of rights in the CRC.
Furthermore, communications or complaints made on behalf of children to the other bodies are not considered by a Committee with special expertise on children’s rights. Similar persuasive arguments were made for the adoption of the communications’ mechanisms under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and under the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
What are the main arguments in favour of a communications mechanism for the CRC?
- The right to be heard – The CRC provides children with the right to express their views freely, and have their views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity. Establishing a communications mechanism for the CRC would provide children with a mechanism through which they could exercise this right by bringing complaints directly or through others.
- The principle of equality – Children have as much of a right as adults to challenge violations of their rights; it is a matter of serious discrimination that no communications mechanism exists for the full range of children's rights in the CRC.
- To strengthen the accountability of States Parties to the UNCRC – When domestic complaints mechanisms fail to provide an effective remedy for the violation of a child’s rights, or do not exist, then a remedy should be available at the international level.
For more details see http://www.crin.org/law/CRC_complaints/
Call to action:
We, as local, national, regional, and international bodies, including NGOs, human rights institutions and others from every part of the world, call on States Parties to the CRC to:
- Support and encourage the development of an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide a communications/complaints procedure;
- Support the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group to draft the Optional Protocol, ensuring it is an effective instrument for the safeguarding of children’s rights;
- Once adopted, sign and ratify the Optional Protocol, promote rapid ratification by other States Parties and work to ensure that adequate resources are provided to support the Committee on the Rights of the Child in responding to communications/complaints.
Organisations are invited to sign up to the statement below or by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please circulate this petition to other organisations. We do not accept individual signatures and only one signature is required per organisation.