Today, 14 April 2014, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure has entered into force following its ratification by the required 10 countries: Albania, Bolivia, Gabon, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Slovakia and Costa Rica.
The new Protocol enables children and their representatives to submit complaints to the Committee on the Rights of the Child about specific violations of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the right to education (articles 28 and 29), as well as under its other two Optional Protocols (on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution). But children can only complain if their government has ratified the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure, and if they have exhausted all legal avenues in their own country.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified human rights treaty. We hope that this new Optional Protocol will soon reach universal ratification. Ratification signifies that States take their obligations seriously and are ready for any scrutiny concerning individual allegations of child rights violations,” said the four UN child experts (Kirsten Sandberg, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; and Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.)
“In order to reach out to the most vulnerable and marginalised children, the Optional Protocol should be widely publicised and countries should inform the public and raise awareness amongst children of their right to complain and seek redress,” they added.
To learn more about how to submit a complaint, visit OHCHR website