Costa Rica has become the 10th country to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, meaning that it will take effect in three months.
Children whose rights have been violated - including the right to education - will soon be able to complain to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which will then decide whether to review the case. Where a violation is found, it will recommend that the State concerned takes action to remedy the situation.
“The Optional Protocol gives children who have exhausted all legal avenues in their own countries the possibility of applying to the Committee,” said CRC Chair Kirsten Sandberg. “It means children are able to fully exercise their rights and are empowered to have access to international human rights bodies in the same way adults are under several other human rights treaties,” she added.
“It is a major step forward in the implementation of children’s rights, but at the same time we urge States to develop their own systems to ensure that children’s rights are respected and protected and that their voices can be heard,” Ms Sandberg said, noting that it is the primary responsibility of States to address child rights violations.
Individual children or groups of children will be able to submit complaints about specific violations of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child but they can only complain to the CRC if their government has ratified the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure. So, it is important to encourage all States to ratifiy theOptional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure.