The UN General Assembly has adopted a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishing a complaints procedure for violations of children’s rights.
[NEW YORK, Monday 19 December 2011] Today, in a landmark step for children’s rights, the UN General Assembly has adopted a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishing a complaints procedure for violations of children’s rights.
The new treaty will enable children, or their representatives, claiming that their rights have been violated to bring a complaint to an international committee of children’s rights experts if they have not been able to get remedies for these violations in their countries. A coalition of over 80 international and national NGOs, coordinated by the NGO Group for the CRC, which has been actively campaigning for the treaty since 2006, welcomed the news.
“It was high time to put children’s rights on an equal footing with other human rights! Until today, the Committee on the Rights of the Child was the only UN treaty body that was denied the power to examine individual cases,” said Peter Newell, co-chair of the NGO coalition. “Children’s rights are no longer ‘mini rights,” he added.
Cases concerning any violation of children's rights – from children who cannot access primary education to children forced into sexual exploitation, for instance – could be brought before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
“In the course of our work, we all come across numerous cases of violations of children’s rights that couldn’t be addressed before national courts,” observed Sara Austin, co-chair of the NGO coalition, “This is why we have campaigned so hard for the past five years: to get the voices of all these children heard and compel States to remedy those situations.”
In order for a complaint to be reviewed, a State must have accepted the procedure. The NGO coalition will now turn its efforts to lobbying States to ratify the new treaty which must be accepted by ten countries before it can be used.
Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Jean Zermatten added his support for the new protocol “I am truly delighted [...] and I hope it will enter into force without delay. The Committee looks forward to hearing from child victims and identifying precisely where national systems have failed to better help States with the implementation of their obligations.”
Previous CRC News items
- 30/09/2011: DAY OF GENERAL DISCUSSION 2011: Children of Incarcerated Parents
- 31/05/2011: Opening of the 57th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- 31/05/2011: Opening Address by a Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the CRC Committee
- 31/05/2011: Opening of the 59th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- 17/02/2011: Complaints Mechanism: Reactions to Chair's Proposal (Summary)
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 19/12/2011 10:15:21
London wrote on 14/01/2012:
The UNCRC has been seen to be a failure by many because of its enforcement methods, or lack of it. By States ratifying the new protocol for the complaints mechanism, it can only be a step in the right direction for the international community and more importantly all the children in the world.