Optional Protocol: Strengthening the Convention on the Rights of the Child in its 25th Year

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified human rights treaty. 192 countries have ratified the Convention, which requires States to give primary consideration to the best interests of a child when making decisions which affect them, and includes children's rights, such as rights to education, play, and protection from economic and social exploitation.

Nevertheless, despite the near universal ratification of the Convention (the US and Somalia are the only UN members still to ratify) - we are all too aware that the abuse of children's rights continues around the world.

The implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which should receive regular reports from states and will engage with states and non-governmental organisations before issuing its observations.

Now, in its 25th anniversary year, the protection of children's rights by the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been strengthened by the coming into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure. This new treaty, which came into force on Monday 14th April gives children the right to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Children and their representatives can now make complaints to the Committee about specific violations of their Convention rights, once they have exhausted all legal avenues in their own country.

This is a great step forward for children's access to justice, and will hopefully enable better scrutiny of States' compliance with the treaty, and better enforcement of children's rights.

However, children can only complain under the Optional Protocol if their government has ratified it. So far 10 states have ratified the Optional Protocol - Albania, Bolivia, Gabon, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Slovakia and Costa Rica. This was the required number for the Optional Protocol to come into force, but now it is important that other states show their commitment to securing children's rights, by ratifying the Optional Protocol and allowing their children the opportunity to make complaints and seek justice too.

In this, the 25th anniversary year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we want to see better, stronger protection of children's rights. The UK should ratify the Optional Protocol as soon as possible, giving children in the UK more opportunities to seek redress for any breach of their rights and contributing towards the strengthening of children's rights worldwide.

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2 comments

Torture of children may be justified, for example in Gaza or the Palestinian occupied West- Bank, where child terrorists have regularly been arrested and information necessary to stop more moslem terrorists attacking innocent Jews. Moslem terrorists, the parents, are responsible if their children have to be tortured to stop the killing of innocent Jews. Torture under these circumstances is justified and Israel will continue to take steps, to stop terrorism. Israel has taken over 5000 Palestinian terrorists under administrative control, no court case is needed, as it is a waste of resources to place terrorists on trial. They are clearly guilty, or they would not have been arrested! Efficient torture methods do work, to stop Moslem children growing into future terrorists. It is wrong of Amnesty to risk Israeli lives by supporting Moslems child terrorists. Amnesty is a racist, antisemitic group. Israels security is paramount, not alleged " human rights" of terrorists. Security comes first. Terrorists, children or adult, have no " human rights"! Israel forever!

SarahStuecki 3 years ago

Hi SarahStuecki, there's a few assumptions there. Let's unpack them a little.
'Torture of children may be justified'. We'll have to disagree there - we strongly believe that torture is never justified. Not for children, and not for adults. It's banned under international law, and Israel is (rightly) a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture.
'They are clearly guilty, or they would not have been arrested'. Again, we'll have to disagree there. Access to a fair trial is one of the cornerstones of everyone's human rights. And the majority of Palestinians arrested by Israel are tried and sentenced. B'Tselem reports 191 Palestinians held under administrative detention (being held without charge or trial), and that's something we condemn wherever it used, regardless of how old or young the person is. It's something we've also condemned in the US, Egypt, Azerbaijan, India, Iraq - the list goes on.

Lisa Incledon 3 years ago