GENEVA (11 January 2016) - The Committee on the Rights of the Child opened its seventy-first session this morning, hearing an address by Orest Nowosad, Chief of the Groups in Focus Section of the Human Rights Treaties Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Committee also adopted its agenda and programme of work for the session.
Mr. Nowosad recapitulated the Committee’s achievements in 2015, when the Committee had held meetings in double chambers and adopted concluding observations on 44 States parties’ reports. The Committee had also started reviewing its first complaints and requests to carry out inquiries under the third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the global level, the 196th ratification of the Convention, by Somalia, had come through, making the Convention almost universally ratified. Regarding the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/268, Mr. Nowosad noted that the backlog of the Committee now stood at 57, and after the current session would go further down to 40. At the same time, the work under the third Optional Protocol was increasing. The Committee would discuss the possible adoption of the San Jose Guidelines against Intimidation or Reprisals in the near future. The Handbook for Treaty Body Members was now ready in English, with versions in other languages coming out soon. The Handbook assisted States in nominating and electing competent and independent treaty body members, and provided useful information to new and current members.
Mr. Nowosad stressed that the 2030 Agenda included several goals and targets which focused on children’s rights and a specific target was dedicated to ending all forms of violence against children. In that regard, all treaty bodies were invited to actively consider their potential roles and contributions to monitoring and reporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Human Rights Council would hold its next day dedicated to children’s rights on information and communications technology and child sexual exploitation online.
The Secretariat of the Committee informed that since the seventieth session, four reports had been received by the Secretariat, bringing the number of reports pending consideration to 57. Since the previous session Somalia had ratified the Convention, bringing the total number of ratifications to 196. During the same period, Bahamas, Kiribati and Micronesia had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and the total number of ratifications now stood at 162. Two new countries – Bahamas and Kiribati – had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, bringing the total number of ratifications to 171. Finally, since the previous session, six countries – Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Mongolia and Peru – had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on a communications procedure, bringing the total number of ratifications to 24.
Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Chairperson of the Committee, informed that the Committee would hold its biennial meeting with the United Nations Children’s Fund on 28 January 2016. The Committee would continue its discussion on the follow-up to the treaty-body strengthening process. The Committee would also continue its work on four general comments. On 27 January, at 10 a.m., the Committee would hold an informal meeting with States parties.
The agenda was then adopted.
The Committee will next meet in public in Rooms XXIV and XXV of the Palais des Nations at 3 p.m. today, when it will consider, respectively, the combined third to fifth periodic report of Senegal (CRC/C/SEN/3-5) and the combined third and fourth periodic report of Iran (CRC/C/IRN/3-4).
For use of the information media; not an official record