GENEVA (12 April 2019) – UN experts on children’s rights will on Sunday 14 April celebrate the five-year anniversary of a legal instrument allowing children who face human rights violations to complain directly to the Child Rights Committee in Geneva.
“Children using this complaint procedure can have a concrete, positive impact on their lives as it leads to changes in laws and policies,” said the experts.
The legal instrument, known as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OPIC), has been ratified by 43 States, while the Child Rights Convention, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty, with 196 States parties.
“On the occasion of the OPIC’s fifth birthday, we urge the 153 States parties to the Convention who haven’t yet joined the OPIC to strengthen children’s protection by ratifying the OPIC and ensuring the realisation of all human rights of children around the world,” said the experts.
The Child Rights Committee, the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and for Children and Armed Conflict and the Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children highlighted the significance of the Optional Protocol in giving children and their representatives the right to submit complaints to an international expert body about specific violations of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols.
Children can submit an individual complaint if their government has ratified the OPIC, and if they have exhausted all legal avenues in their own country. Children can also request an inquiry in case of a systematic or grave violation of their rights. The Committee’s Web page has more information for children wishing to send their complaints.
“States have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that any violation of children’s rights is properly resolved at the national level. Where this is not the case, the voice of children must be heard at the international level,” said the experts.
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