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Print this pageNGO Side Event: Communications Procedure for the CRC




Child Rights International Network

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NGO Side Event: Communications Procedure for the CRC

[GENEVA, 6 March 2008] – Over sixty participants, including 19 government representatives attended a briefing meeting at the Human Rights Council Session yesterday on the need for a communications procedure for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The campaign was recently established as a Working Group of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Founding organisations include: Save the Children Sweden and UK, World Vision International, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), SOS Kinderdorf International, The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children and CRIN.

A petition calling for the strengthening of the enforcement of the CRC by drafting and adopting an Optional Protocol establishing such a mechanism has so far gathered support from over 360 organisations from almost 100 countries.

Jennifer Grant, Save the Children UK Global Child Rights Advocate, introduced the campaign by saying there was an urgent need for such a procedure to be made available to children and their advocates and that the UNCRC was the only international treaty with a mandatory reporting procedure to lack such a communications procedure. 'The time has come for enforcement, the time has come to end the age discrimination against children' she continued.

Ms Grant then went through the main arguments for the need for such a procedure and refuted the main objections previously expressed. Download the briefing paper here:

Gilbert Onyango from The Cradle, the Children's Foundation in Kenya, talked about the human side of the campaign by highlighting a number of cases that his organisation, which offers legal advice and representation to children, had failed in getting redress for in ational courts. 'If such cases fail in Kenya, we have nowhere to go, we need such a mechanism to be made available for when our legal systems fail our children' he said.

Mr Onyango is also leading a national campaign in Kenya for the establishment of a CRC communications procedure which has already attracted over 50 organisations. A conference provisionally planned for end of April is hoping to strengthen the campaign by gathering support from organisations from the whole region. Meanwhile, lobbying activities undertaken by Kenyan NGOs have already received the support of government officials.

The floor was then open for questions and comments – organisers were particularly intereste to hear from government representatives. Uruguay spoke first expressing their support for this campaign and the need for an in-depth debate on the issue, and reminded the audience that Uruguay, as the main sponsor of this year's resolution on the rights of the child is deeply dedicated to the issue of children's rights.

Germany said they were very interested to hear the presentations and although they could not pronounce themselves yet, they would be following the discussions closely. The representative from Liechtenstein was interested to find out whether the procedure would be individual or collective and was interested to hear what other lobbying activities had taken place.

Other government delegates present included: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

What the campaign is calling for

The campaign is calling on Member States 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.


Further information:

Previous CHR News items

Organisation Contact Details:

Child Rights International Network
East Studio
2 Pontypool Place
Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257

Last updated 13/05/2008 06:27:52

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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