Written Replies and Additional Submissions                                 

Governments are asked to answer the Committee’s list of issues at least a couple of months before the session (the exact deadline can be found in the list of issues). These written replies are published on the Committee’s website when they are received by the Committee.

At this stage, children’s rights defenders, including those who did not submit an alternative report or did not participate in the pre-session, can send additional submissions to the Committee to comment on the State’s written replies and/or send new or updated information to the Committee before the session, for example.

The State has to respond to the Committee’s list of issues in writing. The document prepared by the government in response to the Committee’s list of issues is called “Written Replies” (WRs). The government has 30 pages to respond to the first section of the list of issues, 3 pages for the second and an unlimited amount of pages for the third one.

In addition to alternative reports, children’s rights defenders can send to the Committee any other additional information. This is called “additional submissions”, which include:

  • comments on the List of Issues;
  • responses to the questions in the List of Issues;
  • comments on the Written Replies;
  • updates in relation to the alternative report;
  • information on new developments and events;
  • any other relevant information useful for the session.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Additional Submissions of Children’s Rights Defenders before the Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child

1. When and where can I find the State’s Written Replies?

The Written Replies are a public document that is published on the Committee’s website as soon as they are received by OHCHR. The government has to send them by the date indicated in the list of issues, which is usually about 2 months before the session.

2. In which language are they available?

The government has to draft the written replies in English, French or Spanish. The Written Replies are not translated in any other language.

3. Can I prepare the Written Replies?

Children’s rights defenders should not draft the State’s written replies. It is a State’s reporting obligation. However, you can support your government if such assistance is needed.

4. What can I do with the written replies?

There are a number of actions that children’s rights defenders can do when the written replies are out:

  • Translate them into the local languages or into a language more accessible to children and the general public;
  • Publicise them as much as possible through media and social media;
  • Use them for awareness raising, capacity building and training activities;
  • Discuss them with the government and use them as an advocacy tool;
  • Discuss them with children who participated in the reporting process;
  • Prepare your comments on the content of the written replies and send them to the Committee.

5. What is the format of additional submissions?

There is no specific format for additional submissions. The most important thing is that they should be as concise as possible

6. What is the deadline for additional submission?

The official deadlines for additional submissions are:

Electronic Copies Paper Copies
September Session 15 August 20 August
January Session 15 December 20 December
May Session 15 April 20 April

7. How do I submit an additional submission to the Committee?

All additional submissions should be submitted to the Secretariat of the Committee – the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

You need to upload each submission to this link. Child Rights Connect provides OHCHR with a secured online space where all the reports are compiled.

For more info see the Committee’s webpage.

8. I have missed the deadline. What can I do?

You can still submit your additional submissions. The online system is always open. However, you should be aware that Committee members might have at this point very little time to go through all the submissions before the dialogue with the State.

9. What if the written replies are late?

The deadline set by the Committee is not always respected by the States. Sometimes, States send the document with significant delays. In some cases, they do not send it at all. Children’s rights defenders should approach their government to remind them of their reporting obligations. If there is a considerable delay, it is worth sending your additional submission anyway, to ensure that the Committee has time to consider the information in advance of the session. You can then send short additional comments on the written replies once they are available.

10. Can my submission be kept confidential?

Yes, your submission is considered confidential unless you authorise OHCHR to publish it on the Committee’s webpage.

11. Can my submission be published?

Yes, you can publish your submission at any time. You can authorise OHCHR to publish your submission when you upload it. If you have authorised the publication and your report has not been published, you must contact crc@ohchr.org.