15 January 2008 - CRINMAIL 948


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PETITION: Campaign for a complaints procedure under the CRC

A group of national, regional and international organisations have launched a campaign for an Optional Protocol to the CRC to establish a complaints procedure.

We hope you will join us by signing the petition. 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, who say their rights have been violated by a State that is a party to a convention or covenant, to bring a complaint before the relevant committee provided that the State has recognised the competence of the committee to receive such complaints.

Why do we need a complaints 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 complaints 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 complaints 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 complaints 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 complaints 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 complaints 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 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 complaints/communications 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 complaints/communications.

Organisations are invited to sign up to the statement here, or email us: info@crin.org

Please circulate this petition to other organisations. View the list of signatures here

Visit: www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=16175&flag=news


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