Written inputs to State report
Two-three months after the submission of the State report and one month before the pre-session, children’s rights defenders can submit written information.
This second submission is meant to be the comprehensive “alternative report”.
An “alternative report” is the technical name given to:
- A country-specific report;
- On the situation of children’s rights as defined under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), its Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children (OPSC) and/or its Optional Protocol on Children involved in Armed Conflict (OPAC);
- Submitted by an individual, a group or an organisation, which is independent from the government;
- to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Children who act as children’s rights defenders – because they are part of child-led organisations or groups, or act as children’s representatives – can also submit an alternative report, films, studies, photographs, drawings, or use any other means they feel appropriate to express their views. If they cannot – or do not want to – submit a product of their own, they can contribute to an alternative report drafted by adults. Whichever option they choose, their engagement must follow the 9 principles established by the Committee’s working methods on child participation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Written inputs to State report
1. When can I start preparing written inputs to State report?
The Committee is aware of the short timeframe for this second submission, and it therefore encourages stakeholders to start preparing the report based on the LOIPR and their on-going monitoring and data-collection process.
You can start working on your submission at any time, provided that it contains the most up-to-date information by the time of the deadline for submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
In fact, the earlier you start, the more time you will have to design and implement an elaboration plan addressing the following questions:
- Which children’s rights will you cover in your report?
- How can you collect data? Is it enough to do desk research or do you need to undertake a nation-wide consultations?
- Which experts and stakeholders do you need to consult or get inputs from
- Will you involve children in the elaboration of your report? If so, which children and why? Do you want to involve them in the design of your elaboration plan? At which level will you involve them?
Tip: Getting children involved in the drafting of the written inputs. If you want to involve children in the elaboration of your report, bear in mind that you will need to have your elaboration plan designed at least 1 year before the deadline for children’s engagement to be in line with the Committee’s working methods on child participation. Check our guides Together with Children, as well as My Pocket Guide to CRC reporting for children and teens, which help adults, children and teens understand what the CRC, the Committee and the reporting cycle are and how they can engage.
Children’s report: The Committees welcomes and values child participation. We recommend that children present their own report as a submission in itself rather than as an annex to an NGO’s report.
It is possible to add a short introduction to explain how the children’s report is complementary to the NGO’s submission, if need be.
2. What should written inputs to State report contain?
Children’s rights defenders should provide more detailed information than the first report, including:
- More detailed information on the issues/questions included in the first submission;
- Information on new developments;
- Comments to the State report;
- Questions for the dialogue;
- Proposed recommendations for the Concluding Observations;
- Gaps in the LOIPR and the State Report.
Word limit: The Committee has set specific word limits of 20’000 words for comprehensive reports and 6’000 for thematic reports. This will not apply to children’s submissions.
Written inputs must contain information on the situation of children’s rights as defined under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), its Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children (OPSC) and/or its Optional Protocol on Children involved in Armed Conflict (OPAC) in a given country and how that State implements its children’s rights obligations.
Those written inputs are meant to complement States’ reports, which tackle all children’s rights comprehensively. This is the reason why written inputs should also be comprehensive reports and why children’s rights defenders working on different children’s rights issues are strongly encouraged to work together as national coalitions to produce one comprehensive alternative report.
Alternative reports on one or a limited number of issues are also accepted but their authors are less likely to be invited by the Committee to its pre-session.
- Written inputs should cover the period from the last Committee’s Concluding Observations until the deadline for submission.
- Even if a State report integrates the implementation of the OPAC and/or the OPSC, children’s rights defenders can decide to submit a separate report on one or both Protocols, if they deem it relevant.
What is the added value of preparing one comprehensive submission?
Working together with other children’s rights defenders in your country to produce a joint comprehensive alternative report will:
- Increase the credibility of the report and your organisation;
- Foster the identification of new allies and creation of coalitions;
- Trigger a debate on the situation of children’s human rights in the country;
- Promote a holistic and coordinated follow-up of the recommendations of the Committee;
- Provide solid information to the Committee in preparation of its dialogue with the State.
3. How should it be structured?
The reports should follow as much as possible the same structure of the LOIPR. i.e. be organised by clusters of rights and not by article of the Convention or of its Protocols. This will help the Committee to read alternative reports and the State’s report together and check them against the previous Concluding Observations.
Thematic reports, should refer to the relevant issues/questions in the LOIPR.
- Check the official SRP: Information note for States parties, to learn more about how to structure your own report.
4. Which language can I write my written inputs to State report in?
Written inputs can be submitted in English, French, or Spanish – the three working languages of the Committee. However, in practice, submitting an alternative report in only one of these languages means that not all Committee members will be able to read it (the United Nations do not translate alternative reports).
It is therefore highly recommended to submit a full English version of your report (the most common working language of Committee members), as well as summaries with your key recommendations in French and Spanish (for those who cannot read English), when possible.
5. Can I include photos in my written inputs to State report?guage can I write my written inputs to State report in?
Yes, you can include photos but only to illustrate an issue of concern, such as the conditions of school buildings, classrooms, health centres, alternative care settings, detention facilities, etc., not for shock value. Photos should not include individual children or violate the privacy rights of a child in any way. If it is impossible to have a photo illustrating an issue of concern without a child on it, his/her face should be blurred and the child should not be identifiable.
6. How do I submit written inputs to State report to the Committee?
7. What is the deadline to submit written inputs to State report?
The deadline for written inputs to State report is about 14-15 months after the adoption of the LOIPR, but depends on the submission of the State report which determines the next steps.
Submission deadlines are 1st September for the October pre-session, 3rd January for the February pre-session, 1st May for the June pre-session.
You will find the official deadlines indicated on the CRC Committee SRP calendar.
8. I have missed the official deadline. What can I do?
You can still submit your report: our secured online platform is always open.
However, please note that only the organisations that submit reports in accordance with the official deadlines can be invited to participate in the pre-session of the Committee., especially considering the short timeframe between the deadline and the pre-session.
9. What happens to my written inputs to State report once I submit it? Is it kept confidential or is it made public?
After you submit your written inputs to State report through our secured online platform, the Secretariat of the Committee at OHCHR downloads it and transmits it to the Committee.
Your report is kept confidential unless you agree to have it published on the Committee’s webpage when you submit your report online by ticking the appropriate box. If you did not agree to have it published when you submitted your report but have changed your mind or would like to have another version made public, please send your report directly to firstname.lastname@example.org after your country pre-session.
OHCHR publishes all authorised alternative reports at once after the pre-session. If you have authorised the publication of your report and don’t see it online after the pre-session of the country concerned, please contact OHCHR directly at: email@example.com.
Tips when drafting your Written inputs to a State report
See FAQ 2 for more background info on the content of written inputs.
The report should include:
- A title page.
- A table of contents based on the official reporting guidelines for States (clusters of rights, see the info box).
- The list of authors and contributors.
- An explanatory note on the methodology followed for the drafting of the report.
- A summary of your key recommendations at the end of each cluster.
- The watermark “CONFIDENTIAL”, if necessary.
- Page numbers.
The report should have a maximum of 20,000 words (about 30 pages) for comprehensive reports and a maximum of 6’000 words for thematic reports, excluding annexes, even if it covers the CRC and OPAC and/or OPSC.
The report should contain:
- A summary explanation of the main areas of concerns, key issues, challenges and recommendations.
- Objective and evidence-based information on: the national context, the implementation of previous Committee’s recommendations, the main areas of concerns, the State’s report (comments on the information provided, gaps in the State report), legislation, policies, programmes and other relevant actions (gaps and good practices).
- Disaggregated data, statistics and emblematic cases.
- Suggested solutions and recommendations to the State (including existing recommendations to the State by other UN and regional human rights mechanisms, when relevant).