11 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2013
Date Written: October 29, 2012
“Communications” have become an increasingly popular way to enforce human rights. However, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ("UNCRC"), is unique from all other human rights treaties that have a state reporting procedure in that it provides no communications procedure for individual victims or groups of victims to communicate to the UNCRC violations of rights recognized by the CRC and its optional protocols. In other words, the UNCRC lacks competence to hear individual communications and children, thus, are unable to enforce their rights under the CRC through the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Because of this gap in the enforcement provisions of the CRC relative to other human rights treaties, a number of child advocates from a variety of non-governmental organizations successfully lobbied the international community to draft an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (“Third Optional Protocol”). The Third Optional Protocol was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2011, and opened for signature on February 28, 2012.
This paper explains the communications procedure under the Third Optional Protocol and with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child so that both procedures are better understood by children's advocates.
Keywords: CRC, ACERWC, Communications Procedure, Children's Rights, Human Rights
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