We have created this web page to help YOU understand how the reporting cycle of the Committee on the rights of the child works.
In this page we will define and explain:
- What is the Convention on the Right of the Child
- What is the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and its role
- How the reporting process works
- Who are Child Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and their role
Definition of children
Any person under the age of 18.
What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The Convention on the Rights of the Child – known as the CRC – is an international human rights treaty, which is a legal text enouncing obligations that subject who signed it should respect. This treaty exists since 1989 and lists the rights of all children under the age of 18.
It obliges governments to say what they are doing to make sure children enjoy these rights. Almost all States of the United Nations have committed to the CRC.
The CRC has three optional protocols, which are new treaties added to a Convention, which governments can decide to agree to, or not, they are “optional”:
- One on the special situation of children in war (OPAC);
- one on children who are sold or sexually abused through prostitution or pornography (OPSC),
- and one which allows children to complain about their personal situation with the Committee (OPIC). Check our OPIC information page for children!
WHAT IS THE COMMITTEE?
Role and composition
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is a group of 18 people who know a lot about children and their rights. They have been selected from all over the world.
The Committee members are independent experts, meaning they are not representing the political views of any country. They are here to monitor the good respect of the CRC and to bring an expertise on children rights.
How does it work?
- After a government agrees to follow (ratifies) the CRC, it becomes a” State Party” and the Committee members check that it is doing all it can to respect it.
- To assure this monitoring, there is the “reporting process”: Every state party engage to send reports to the Committee in which they are explaining what they are doing to insure, protect and empower children’s rights in their country.
- Each government must send the Committee a first report 2 years after it ratifies the CRC and then one every 5 years.
- The Committee meets 3 times each year to look at individual country situations.
- The Committee cannot force a country to do anything, but it can give it strong advice and criticisms, and let everybody know about it.
The Committee has developed special guidelines on the participation of children in the CRC reporting, which will guide you in all the steps of the reporting process. These are called the working methods: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/66/2&Lang=en
Watch this video to learn more about the work of the Committee!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You can engage in the “reporting process”. This is through this process that the Committee examines countries situations. States are sending reports, and civils society organisations, UNICEF, UN agencies, individual experts and children can also send information to the Committee to explain how well they think the government protects and respects children’s rights.
Most of the time, when children engaged in the reporting process they have had the help of an NGO in their country. In case you need guidance, Child Rights Connect can tell you which organisation can support you in your country.
Reporting to the Committee is your chance to tell the world how well, or not, your government protects your rights!
Once it has received a lot of information on children’s situation in a country, the Committee holds meetings in Geneva (Switzerland) to:
- Listen to civil society and children who wrote reports throught private meetings: the pre-session, a meeting for civil society and children, and the children’s meeting, a meeting only for children.
- And to meet with governments through a public meeting: the session. You can attempt to this meeting to follow the dialogue between the Committee and your government.
At the end of the reporting process, the Committee will give its conclusions and recommendations to the government of the country, who goes back home to improve the situation and reports again a few years later, and so on.
There are two reporting cycles, in which the steps are a bit different: the standard reporting cycle and the simplified reporting cycle (SRP). See below the two reporting cycles:
You can participate in every steps of both reporting procedures!
Child Human Rights Defenders
Who are Child Human Rights Defenders (CHRDs), and what are their role?
Human rights defenders are people taking action to PROMOTE & PROTECT their own rights or those of others.
When defenders are under 18 years old, they are CHILD HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, even if people do not think that
or call them that. CHRDs work on MANY ISSUES like bullying at school, protecting the environment or stopping child marriages.
The article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”.
It means that every person, including children have the right to defend and promote human rights. In that regard they should be protected to do so.
In 2017, Child Rights Connect launched the first ever global programme on children human rights defenders in order to raise awareness about their role and to actively advocate for the realization of their rights.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has recognized the importance and newness of this topic and has decided to dedicate its 2018 Day of General Discussion (DGD) to the theme “Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders”.
Here, you can find the latest news on CHRDs:
If you don’t know organisations in your country that can help you, you can contact Child Rights Connect by phone (0041225524130) or e-mail ([email protected]), so we can advise and support you!