15 January 2008 - CRINMAIL 948
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PETITION: Campaign for a complaints procedure under the
group of national, regional and international organisations have
launched a campaign for an Optional Protocol to the CRC to establish a
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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:
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:
encourage the development of an Optional Protocol to the Convention on
the Rights of the Child to provide a complaints/communications
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;
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: email@example.com
Please circulate this petition to other organisations. View the list of
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