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Committee on the Rights of the Child holds seventy-fifth session in Geneva from 15 May to 2 June

Committee to Review Reports of the United States, Bhutan, Lebanon, Qatar, Romania, Mongolia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Cameroon
 
GENEVA (11 May 2017 ) - The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its seventy-fifth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 15 May to 2 June, during which it will review the situation of children’s rights and the implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols in the United States, Bhutan, Lebanon, Qatar, Romania, Mongolia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Cameroon.
 
At the opening meeting on Monday, 15 May, the Committee will hear five new members make a solemn declaration, and will elect a new bureau.  It will hear an address by a representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and adopt its agenda and programme of work.  During the session, in addition to reviewing the reports of the eight States parties, the Committee 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 United States is presenting its combined third and fourth periodic 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/C/OPSC/USA/3-4), and its combined third and fourth periodic report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC/C/OPAC/USA/3-4).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography considered in January 2013 can be found in CRC/C/OPSC/USA/CO/2, and those on the second periodic report on children in armed conflict, considered in January 2013 can be found in CRC/C/OPAC/USA/CO/2.
 
Bhutan is presenting its combined third to fifth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/BTN/3-5).  Its second periodic report was considered in September 2008 and the Committee’s concluding remarks and observations can be found in CRC/C/BTN/CO/2.  The Committee will also be considering Bhutan’s 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/C/OPSC/BTN/1), and its initial report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC/C/OPAC/BTN/1).
 
Lebanon is presenting its combined fourth and fifth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/LBN/4-5).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the third periodic report, considered in May 2006, can be found in CRC/C/LBN/CO/3
 
Qatar is presenting its combined third and fourth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/QAT/3-4).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in September 2009, can be found in CRC/C/QAT/CO/2.
 
Romania is presenting its fifth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/ROU/5).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the fourth periodic report, considered in June 2009, can be found in CRC/C/ROM/CO/4
 
Mongolia is presenting its fifth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/MNG/5).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the combined third and fourth periodic report, considered in January 2010, can be found in CRC/C/MNG/CO/3-4
 
Antigua and Barbuda is presenting its combined second to fourth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/ATG/2-4).  The initial report was reviewed in September 2004 and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations can be found in CRC/C/15/Add.247.
 
Cameroon is presenting its combined third to fifth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/CMR/3-5).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in January 2010, can be found in CRC/C/CMR/CO/2.

The reports and other documents before the Committee including the programme of work, are accessible on the session webpage
 
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified or acceded to by 196 countries, is the most widely accepted international human rights instrument.  Its implementation by States parties is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of 18 independent experts formed in 1991. 
 
The Committee also monitors the 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.
 
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 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.
 
This Optional Protocol, adopted by the General Assembly in May 2000 entered into force in 2002, and has been ratified by 173 States to date.
 
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.
 
The Optional Protocol entered into force in 2002 and is currently ratified by 166 States.

Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure


A third Optional Protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011.  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.
 
The Optional Protocol 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, 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 and if so, 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 sixty-second session.

To date, 34 States have ratified it: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Samoa, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine and Uruguay.
 
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); KHAZOVA Olga (Russian Federation); KOTRANE Hatem (Tunisia); MADI Gehad (Egypt); MEZMUR Benyam Dawit (Ethiopia); NELSON Clarence (Samoa); RODRÍGUEZ REYES Jose Angel (Venezuela); SANDBERG Kirsten (Norway); and WINTER Renate (Austria).
 
At the beginning of the 75th session, the newly elected five members of the Committee will make a solemn declaration.  They are LUMINA Cephas (Zambia); OTANI Mikiko (Japan); PEDERNERA REYNA Luis Ernesto (Uruguay); SKELTON Ann Marie (South Africa); and TODOROVA Velina (Bulgaria).  Elections for the new Bureau will then be held.  

Programme of Work

 
Monday, 15 May
10 a.m.         Opening of the session, elections, adoption of the agenda
3 p.m.          Closed meeting
 
Tuesday, 16 May
10 a.m.         Report of the United States CRC/C/OPAC/USA/3-4
3 p.m.          Report of the United States CRC/C/OPSC/USA/3-4
 
Wednesday, 17 May
10 a.m.         Report of Bhutan CRC/C/BTN/3-5
3 p.m.          Bhutan (continued)
 
Thursday, 18 May
10 a.m.         Reports of Bhutan CRC/C/OPSC/BTN/1 and CRC/C/OPAC/BTN/1
3 p.m.          Report of Lebanon CRC/C/LBN/4-5
 
Friday, 19 May
10 a.m.         Lebanon (continued)
3 p.m.          Closed meeting
 
Monday, 22 May
10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.          Report of Qatar CRC/C/QAT/3-4
 
Tuesday, 23 May
10 a.m.         Qatar (continued)
3 p.m.          Report of Romania CRC/C/ROU/5
 
Wednesday, 24 May
10 a.m.         Romania (continued)
3 p.m.          Closed meeting
 
Thursday, 25 May
United Nations Holiday
 
Friday, 26 May
10 a.m.         Report of Mongolia CRC/C/MNG/5
3 p.m.          Mongolia (continued)
 
Monday, 29 May
10 a.m.         Report of Antigua and Barbuda CRC/C/ATG/2-4
3 p.m.          Antigua and Barbuda (continued)
 
Tuesday, 30 May
10 a.m.         Report of Cameroon CRC/C/CMR/3-5
3 p.m.          Cameroon (continued)
 
Wednesday, 31 May
Closed meetings
 
Thursday, 1 June
Closed meetings
 
Friday, 2 June
10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.          Closed meeting
5 p.m.          Public close of the session

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For use of the information media; not an official record