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Print this pageCOMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURE: Committee on the Rights of the Child endorses campaign




Child Rights International Network

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CHR News

[GENEVA, 11 June 2008] – A side event on the campaign to establish a communication procedure under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child took place during the eighth session of the Human Rights Council this week.

The event was organised by the Working Group for the communications procedure, under the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The aim of the Working Group (WG) is to persuade states to establish an Ad Hoc Working Group to draft an Optional Protocol (what is this?).

The event was attended by around 30 participants, including representatives from the governments of Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Slovenia and Canada.

The meeting was opened by Peter Newell, of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children and Co-Chair of the working group, who said that: "Children have waited twenty years for this essential mechanism to reinforce full implementation of their convention. There should be no further delay. Many standard elements to establish such a procedure already exist under other instruments. Drafting should not be a long drawn out process: States should aim to have the Optional Protocol open for signature by the 20th anniversary of the CRC."

Support from Committee

Yanghee Lee, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, said that the Committee had opted to support the proposal.

"Time has come", she said, "we have worked on this diligently, we have weighed the pros and cons, and we are now inviting all stakeholders to come forth and seriously work together on the drafting process". She said that there were of course still issues that needed to be addressed and questions to be answered, but that it should be an open and consultative process.

Eva Tomic, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Slovenia, which holds the EU presidency, said that her government was extremely supportive of child rights. She added they needed to clarify how children will use the mechanism, but a strong point in support of this mechanism is that it will fully establish children as rights holders.

Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People was speaking on behalf of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC), a signatory to the petition calling for the establishment of the communications procedure and a member of the Working Group. She said that such a mechanism raise the status of the CRC and make state authorities take it more seriously.

She said that, as a commissioner, having the power to set up formal investigations into breaches of children's rights often resulted in people being more prepared to collaborate. "This leads me to believe that the impact of the Optional Protocol [...] would go far beyond the number of cases in which it was actually invoked", she said.

"At the moment", she continued, "the lack of immediate consequence for flouting the Convention may act to the disadvantage of children. The contrast with the European Convention on Human Rights is stark. The prospect of an application to that Court could always be guaranteed to get authorities moving."

The Representative of the government of Uruguay said her government were very supportive of the campaign and that they had been attending meetings and discussions to better understand how to move forward. She welcomed the decision of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to support the proposal for an OP and reminded that this issue was also on the agenda of MERCOSUR (what is this?) at sub regional level, where a similar procedure was being discussed.


About the Campaign:

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.

By June 2008, more than 400 international and national organisations had signed the petition: "An international call to strengthen the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the drafting of an Optional Protocol to provide a communications procedure". To sign the petition, go to: www.crinorg/petitions/petition.asp?petID=1007

Further information

Previous CHR News items

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Last updated 23/06/2008 06:51:27

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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