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Countries in the world agreed
to protect the rights of children.

These rights are written in
the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Some countries agreed on a rule.

This rule says that children can complain
if their country does not protect their rights.

Children in 10 countries will be able to complain.

Other countries can also accept this rule.

 

The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure will enter into force on 14 April 2014, three months after its ratification by 10th country - Costa Rica. The Protocol will enable children to bring their complaints of human rights violations before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Protocol introduced the international mechanism allowing a child or his representative to submit a complaint on the violations of his rights.  These complaints shall be brought before the Committee once the national legislations were exhausted to resolve the case. Consequently, the Committee will examine the case and decide whether the rights were violated. Following the decision, the Committee can order to the State to take action to remedy the situation.

Moreover, an inquiry procedure established in the Protocol allows the Committee to initiate the investigation on the violation of the rights of the child even if an official complaint wasn’t received. However, the inquiry procedure is an optional article to be applied by the government. Another optional article establishes that the communication between a victim and the Committee can be mediated by the state, meaning that instead of the victim or his representative making a complaint, a government will report about the violation of children’s rights by another government.

“With the establishment of a communications procedure, the Optional Protocol places the rights and aspirations of children at the center of the human rights agenda and makes a landmark contribution to this year’s commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”, said Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children.  The office of Special Representative has published additional documents, such as a children-friendly version of the protocol, to help children understand the legislature and provide them with information on the complaints procedure.

Eighteen experts on human rights form the Committee on the Rights of the Child and closely monitor the implementation of the Convention and all optional protocols in the participating countries.

Inclusion Europe welcomes the entry into force of this Protocol and emphasizes that special attention must be paid to ensure that all children have equal chances to make use of the procedure, including children with intellectual disabilities.

The European Report on the Implementation of the UN CRC for children with intellectual disabilities, launched by Inclusion Europe, Eurochild and the Charles University in Prague in October 2011, concluded that children with intellectual disabilities are more likely to face discrimination or abuse than their peers. The report is followed by the project ‘Hear our Voices’ which aims in empowering children with intellectual disabilities to speak up and take part in their communities and decision-making. More information about the project can be found at www.childrights4all.eu.

The full text of Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure can be found here.