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Committee on the Rights of the Child holds seventy-second session in Geneva from 17 May to 3 June 2016

BACKGROUND RELEASE

Situation of Children’s Rights in Samoa, Slovakia, Nepal, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Gabon, Bulgaria and Luxembourg to be Reviewed

GENEVA (12 May 2016) - The Committee on the Rights of the Child will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 17 May to 3 June to review the promotion and protection of children's rights under the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols in Samoa, Nepal, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Pakistan, Gabon, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.

At the opening meeting, the Committee will adopt its agenda and programme of work.  During the session, the Committee, in addition to considering reports of States parties, will discuss the organization of its future work and methods of work, especially those concerning the Optional Protocol on a communications procedure; and will continue its discussion on the follow-up to the treaty body strengthening process.  The Committee will continue to work on four general comments on public spending to realize children’s rights; adolescents; children in street situations; and on children in the context of migration, which will be prepared and issued jointly with the Committee on the protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.  As the Committee decided at its sixty-second session to hold a day of general discussion every two years, it will continue preparing for the day of general discussion on children’s rights and the environment, to be held on 23 September 2016 in Palais des Nations [for more information: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/Discussion2016.aspx].

Samoa is presenting its combined second to fourth periodic report under the Convention CRC/C/WSM/2-4.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the initial report of Samoa, considered in September 2006, can be found in CRC/C/WSM/CO/1.
 
Nepal is presenting  its combined third to fifth periodic report under the Convention CRC/C/NPL/3-5, and its initial report under the Optional Protocol on children in armed conflict CRC/OPAC/C/NPL/1.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report of Nepal under the Convention, considered in May 2005, can be found in CRC/C/15/Add.261.

The United Kingdom is presenting its fifth periodic report CRC/C/GBR/5. The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the fourth periodic report, considered in September 2008, can be found in CRC/C/GBR/CO/4.

Slovakia is presenting its combined third to fifth periodic report under the Convention CRC/C/SVK/3-5.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in May 2007, can be found in CRC/C/SVK/CO/2.

Pakistan is presenting its fifth periodic report under the Convention CRC/C/PAK/5.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the fourth periodic report, considered in September 2009, can be found in CRC/C/PAK/CO/3-4.

Gabon is presenting its second periodic report CRC/C/GAB/2 under the Convention and its initial report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children child prostitution and child pornography CRC/OPSC/C/GAB/1.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the initial report of Gabon under the Convention, considered in January 2002, can be found in CRC/C/15/Add.171.

Bulgaria is presenting its combined third to fifth periodic report CRC/C/BGR/3-5 under the Convention.  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in May 2008, can be found in CRC/C/BGR/CO/2.

Luxembourg is presenting its initial report under the under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children child prostitution and child pornography  CRC/C/OPSC/LUX/1.

Other documents relating to the Committee’s work can be found on the Committee’s webpage.
 
The Committee is a body of independent experts formed in 1991 to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its States parties.  The Convention gives a comprehensive collection of children's rights the force of international law.  The Committee also monitors implementation of three Optional Protocols to the Convention: the first on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the second on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the third  on a Communications Procedure, which entered into force on 14 April 2014.

To date, 196 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention, making it the most widely accepted international human rights instrument. Only one country is left:  United States of America which has signed, but not ratified it yet.  States parties to the Convention are expected to send representatives to the Committee to present reports on their efforts to implement children's rights.  States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years.  The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations and recommendations”.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child


The General Assembly adopted the Convention unanimously on 20 November 1989, 30 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child.  The Convention renders States parties legally accountable for their actions towards children.  Work on drafting the Convention began in 1979 – the International Year of the Child – at the Commission on Human Rights.  The Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990.  That day, 61 countries signed it, a record first-day response.  It entered into force just seven months later, on 2 September 1990.

Ratifying the Convention requires a review of national legislation to ensure it meets the provisions of the treaty.  The Convention, inter alia, stipulates that every child has the right to life, and that States shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child; that every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth; and that the child's best interests shall be a primary consideration when they are dealt with by courts, welfare institutions or administrative authorities.  The Convention recognizes the right of children to be heard.

States shall ensure that each child enjoys full rights without discrimination or distinction of any kind, and that children should not be separated from their parents, unless by competent authorities for their well-being.  States shall facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories and protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.  Children with disabilities shall have the right to education, special treatment and care; primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in school should respect the child's dignity; capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18; no child under 15 should take any part in hostilities and children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection. Children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own cultures, religions and languages.

Optional Protocols


In May 2000, the General Assembly adopted the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.  The Optional Protocols entered into force in 2002.  Currently, 163 countries have ratified the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict; and 173 States have ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.  A third Optional Protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011.  It provides for a Communications Procedure to allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and the first two Optional Protocols. To date, 27 States have ratified it: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Peru, Portugal, Samoa, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand and Uruguay.

Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography


Although the Convention requires States parties to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, this Optional Protocol extends the measures that States parties must undertake to protect children from these violations of their human rights.  The Optional Protocol not only defines the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, but also provides a non-exhaustive list of acts and activities which shall be criminalized by States parties.  This criminalization also includes attempts, complicity, or participation in such acts or activities. The Optional Protocol sets out the bases for States parties to assert jurisdiction over actionable practices relating to the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography (including extra-territorial legislation) and to make provisions about extradition of alleged offenders. Based on the principle of the best interests of the child, the Optional Protocol also sets forth provisions for protecting and assisting child victims during all stages of the criminal justice process.  Preventive measures, as well as redress, rehabilitation and recovery of child victims, are also covered. For the implementation of all these provisions, the Optional Protocol asks for a close collaboration among States parties.

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

The Optional Protocol establishes that no person under the age of 18 shall be subject to compulsory recruitment into regular armed forces, and imposes an obligation on States to raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment to at least 16 years. Upon ratification of or accession to the Optional Protocol, countries must deposit a binding declaration stating their minimum age for voluntary recruitment and the safeguards in place to ensure that that recruitment is voluntary.  States Parties to the Protocol shall also ensure that members of their armed forces under 18 years of age do not take direct part in hostilities. In addition, armed groups separate from the armed forces of a State should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under 18. States parties are required to take all feasible measures to prevent the recruitment and use of children by any groups, including the criminalization of such practices.

Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure


This new Optional Protocol empowers children to complain about specific violations of their human rights under the Convention and its first two optional protocols by States parties to this Optional Protocol to an international body.  It establishes a procedure to bring complaints under the Convention similar to those that already exist for other core human rights treaties.  Upon receiving a complaint, the Committee will examine it to determine whether the Convention has been violated.  The Committee will guarantee that child-sensitive procedures and safeguards are put in place to prevent the manipulation of the child by those acting on his or her behalf under the Protocol. While it is examining the complaint, the Committee may request the State to adopt interim measures to prevent possible irreparable damage to the child.  It may also request protection measures to prevent reprisals, including further human rights violations, ill-treatment or intimidation, for having submitted such complaints.  If the Convention is found to have been violated, the Committee will make specific recommendations for action to the State responsible.  Under the Optional Protocol the Committee may now initiate inquiries into grave and systematic violations of the Convention and its first two Optional Protocols.  The Optional Protocol also provides for an inter-state communications procedure. The Committee adopted the rules of procedure for this Optional Protocol (CRC/C/62/3) during its 62nd session.

The Protocol opened for signature on 28 February 2012 and entered into force on 14 April 2014, three months after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification.

Committee Membership


The Committee is made up of Experts of high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of children's rights. The following Experts currently serve in the Committee: AHO ASSOUMA Suzanne (Togo);  ALDOSERI Amal (Bahrain); AYOUBI IDRISSI Hynd (Morocco); CARDONA LLORENS Jorge (Spain); GASTAUD Bernard (Monaco); GURAN Peter (Slovakia); KHAZOVA Olga (Russian Federation); KOTRANE Hatem (Tunisia); MADI Gehad (Egypt); MEZMUR Benyam Dawit, (Ethiopia); MUHAMAD SHARIFF Yasmeen (Malaysia); NELSON Clarence (Samoa); NOGUEIRA NETO Wanderlino (Brazil); DE JESUS OVIEDO FIERRO Sara (Ecuador); PARSI Maria Rita (Italy); RODRIGUEZ REYES Jose Angel (Venezuela); SANDBERG Kirsten (Norway); and WINTER Renate (Austria).

Mr. Mezmur is the Chairperson.  The Vice-Chairpersons are Ms. Aldoseri, Ms. Muhamad Shariff, Ms. De Jesus Oviedo Fierro and Ms. Winter.  Ms. Sandberg is the Rapporteur. 

Tentative Timetable for Consideration of Reports

Following is a tentative timetable for the consideration of reports from States parties to the Convention during this session:

Date                        Time                   

Monday 16 May         10 a.m.       UN Holiday

                                3 p.m.       UN Holiday

Tuesday 17 May        10 a.m.       Opening/Adoption of Agenda/Organization of Work
                                                
                               3 p.m.        Samoa CRC CRC/C/WSM/2-4

Wednesday, 18 May   10 a.m.       Samoa CRC (continued)

                               3 p.m.        Closed meeting

Thursday, 19 May      10 a.m.       Closed meeting
                              
                               3 p.m.        Nepal CRC CRC/C/NPL/3-5

Friday, 20 May          10 a.m.       Nepal CRC (continued)

                               3 p.m.        Nepal OPAC CRC/OPAC/C/NPL/1

Monday, 23 May        10 a.m.       Closed Meeting

                               3 p.m.        United Kingdom CRC CRC/C/GBR/5

Tuesday, 24 May        10 a.m.      United Kingdom CRC (continued)

                                3 p.m.       Slovakia CRC CRC/C/SVK/3-5

Wednesday, 25 May    10 a.m.       Slovakia CRC CRC/C/SVK/3-5

                                3 p.m.       Pakistan CRC CRC/C/PAK/5

Thursday, 26 May        10 a.m.    Pakistan CRC/continued)

                                3 p.m.       Gabon CRC CRC/C/GAB/1

Friday, 27 May           10 a.m.      Gabon CRC (continued)

                                3 p.m.       Gabon OPSC CRC/OPSC/C/GAB/1

Monday, 30 May         10 a.m.      Bulgaria CRC CRC/C/BGR/3-5

                                3 p.m.       Bulgaria CRC (continued)

Tuesday, 31 May         10 a.m.     Luxembourg OPSC CRC/C/OPSC/LUX/1

                                3 p.m.       Closed Meeting

Wednesday, 1 June     10 a.m.     Closed Meeting

                                3 p.m.       Closed Meeting

Thursday, 2 June        10 a.m.      Closed Meeting

                                3 p.m.       Closed Meeting

Friday, 3 June            10 a.m.      Closed Meeting

                                3 p.m.       Public Closing of the Session

 __________

For use of the information media; not an official record