Regional Positions

Rapporteur on Child Rights at the Inter-American Commission

News: Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, a former Magistrate in children's rights at the Supreme Court of Panama between 2004 and 2009, was elected as a Commissioner of the IACHR in June 2015 by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. She was appointed as the IACHR's Rapporteur on Child Rights, with her four-year term beginning on 1 January 2016 and due to end on 31 December 2019. 

Role: The Rapporteur carries out studies on issues of concern relating to child rights in the region, undertakes in-country visits, prepares specific chapters on children's rights for country and annual reports, and examines individual violations of children’s rights.

How: The Inter-American Commission is composed of seven members elected in their individual capacity by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. See article 1 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure. Members of the Commission serve four years and may be re-elected once. The Commission has a number of thematic rapporteurships, including a rapporteurship on children's rights. Thematic rapporteurs are decided by the Commission in the first session of the year or whenever necessary (article 15.4 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure).

Action: Encouraging civil society and other partners to use available channels of influence in order to identify the best candidates. Rapporteurships are divided out among the Commissioners so NGOs don't have a say in these appointments, but they can lobby at national level for the appointment of Commissioners. Further details will be circulated in due course.

African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)

Latest: 6 new members of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child were chosen at the recent African Union summit in South Africa in June 2015 for a 5 year term. Mrs. Dikéré Marie-Christine Bocoum of Côte d'Ivoire, Ms. Aver Gavar of Nigeria; Ms. Maria Mapani-Kawimbe of Zambia, Mr. Clement Mashambe of Tanzania, Mr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur of Ethiopia and Ms. Goitseone Nanikie Nkwe of Botswana.

Role: The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) is a Committee of 11 members mandated to monitor and report on the rights of children in Africa. The Committee is potentially a powerful watchdog and advocate for children's rights.

How: Article 33 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child stipulates that Committee  members must be nationals of a State party to the Charter. They must be individuals of high moral standing, integrity, impartiality and competence in matters of the rights and welfare of the child. Members are nominated by State parties to the Charter and elected by the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union. Members are elected for a term of five years and serve on the Committee in their individual capacity.

Action: Civil society has a crucial role to play in recommending qualified and effective candidates to their respective governments to fill these vacancies. Very few candidates were nominated for these important posts in previous elections.

The Civil Society Organisation Forum for the ACEWRC has prepared a fact sheet to inform civil society organisations about the nomination process, flesh out specific criteria for potential members, and inspire civil society participation.

Although CSOs cannot nominate candidates, they can influence the selection process by:

  • Identifying qualified candidates and lobbying them to serve on the Committee.
  • Seeking support for the proposed candidates from government officials working on children's issues or within the Ministry responsible for monitoring the implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
  • Sending a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with clear, convincing arguments as to why this person would be a good candidate.
  • Lobbying the government to ensure the nomination process is truly transparent and that State Parties select candidates on merit rather than for political considerations.
  • Lobbying the government to nominate competent and credible candidates.

States are asked to submit names and CVs of their nominated candidates to the African Union Legal Affairs Department by the The process of selecting candidates will vary from State to State. Members are elected by the Executive Council (comprised of the foreign ministers of AU Member States) by secret ballot in a meeting held prior to the AU Summit. Their decision is then passed to the AU Assembly for final approval and adoption.

Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe

News: In January 2012, Mr Nils Muižnieks from Latvia was elected the new Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe. Read a CRIN interview with Mr Muižnieks here.

Role: The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote the awareness of and respect for human rights in 47 Council of Europe member states.

How? According to Resolution (99) 50 on the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, “The candidates shall be eminent personalities of a high moral character having recognised expertise in the field of human rights, a public record of attachment to the values of the Council of Europe and the personal authority necessary to discharge the mission of the Commissioner effectively. During his or her term of office, the Commissioner shall not engage in any activity which is incompatible with the demands of a full-time office.” The Commissioner is democratically elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for a non-renewable term of office of six years. You can see the voting procedure for candidates at the Council of Europe here:

When: January 2018

Action: Lobbying members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly to ensure the selection of the best possible candidate. Further details will be circulated in due course.

ASEAN Women and Children’s Commission

News: In April 2010 ASEAN's Women and Children's Commission opened for business with the election of 20 Commissioners – two from each ASEAN country.

Role: The Commission, which is a body of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN), is tasked with promoting and protecting women and children's rights, building judicial and administrative capacity, and promoting data collection and research. It is expected to focus on human trafficking, child labour, children in armed conflict and gender discrimination.

How: The nomination process for ASEAN is shrouded in secrecy. The Solidarity for Asian Peoples Advocacy Taskforce on ASEAN Human Rights (SAPA TFHR) demanded to meet the ten commissioners and requested the rights body to hold regular meetings with civil society organisations. It also urged the body to investigate reports of human rights abuses, reported the Jakarta Post. The request was denied by the assembly chair who said the body did not have a mechanism to coordinate with NGOs and other parties. Read more.