ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD HOLDS SIXTY-SEVENTH SESSION IN GENEVA FROM 1 TO 19 SEPTEMBER 2014

Situation of Children’s Rights in Croatia, Fiji, Hungary, Morocco, Singapore, Venezuela to be Reviewed
28 August 2014

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 1 to 19 September 2014 to review the promotion and protection of children's rights under the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols in Croatia, Fiji, Hungary, Morocco, Singapore and Venezuela.

At the opening meeting, the Committee will adopt its agenda and programme of work. During the session, the Committee, in addition to considering reports of States parties, will also discuss the organization of its future work and methods of work.

Croatia is presenting its combined third to fourth periodic report CRC/C/HRV/3-4 under the Convention, and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in September 2004, can be found in CRC/C/15/Add.243.

Fiji is presenting its combined second to fourth periodic report under the Convention CRC/C/FIJ/2-4, while the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the initial report, reviewed in May 1998, can be found in CRC/C/15/Add.89.

Hungary is presenting its combined third to fifth periodic report under the Convention CRC/C/HUN/3-5, and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in January 2006, can be found in CRC/C/HUN/CO/2. Hungary is also presenting its initial reports under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict CRC/C/OPAC/HUN/1 and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography CRC/C/OPSC/HUN/1.

Morocco is presenting its combined third to fourth periodic report CRC/C/MAR/3-4 under the Convention, and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in June 2003, can be found in CRC/C/15/Add.211. Morocco is also presenting its initial report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict CRC/C/OPAC/MAR/1.

Singapore is presenting its initial report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict CRC/C/OPAC/SGP/1.

Venezuela is presenting its third to fifth periodic report under the Convention  CRC/C/VEN/3-5, and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report, considered in September 2007, can be found in CRC/C/VEN/CO/2. Venezuela is also presenting its initial report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict CRC/C/OPAC/VEN/1, and the initial report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography CRC/C/OPSC/VEN/1

Other documents relating to the Committee’s work can be found on the Committee’s webpage.
In addition, the Committee will hold its 2014 Day of General Discussion on “Digital media and children’s rights”.  The discussion will take place on Friday, 12 September 2014 at the Palais des Nations, Room XVII.  The purpose of the Day of General Discussion is to better understand the effects of children’s engagement with social media as well as information and communications technologies, in order to understand the impact on and role of children’s rights in this area, and develop rights-based strategies to maximize the online opportunities for children while protecting them from risks and possible harm.  All the information can be found on the Day of General Discussion 2014 webpage

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention, on 24 September, during the Pre-sessional working group, the Committee will dedicate a day to speak with children from 16 different countries.  There will be four sessions during the day so that the Committee can speak to children in different time zones.  The sessions will take place using Google+Hangout and will be broadcast live at the following link : http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CRC25thAnniversary.aspx

The Committee is a body of independent experts formed in 1991 to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its States parties. The Convention gives a comprehensive collection of children's rights the force of international law. The Committee also monitors implementation of two Optional Protocols to the Convention: the first on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the second on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. A third Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011. It allows individual children to submit complaints about specific violations of their human rights under the Convention and its first two Optional Protocols. The Protocol entered into force on 14 April 2014, three months after the deposit of the 10th instrument of ratification or accession.

To date, 194 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention, making it the most widely accepted international human rights instrument. Only South Sudan has not signed it, while Somalia and the United States have signed, but not ratified it. States parties to the Convention are expected to send representatives to the Committee to present reports on their efforts to implement children's rights. States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations and recommendations”.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child


The General Assembly adopted the Convention unanimously on 20 November 1989, 30 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The Convention renders States parties legally accountable for their actions towards children. Work on drafting the Convention began in 1979 – the International Year of the Child – at the Commission on Human Rights. The Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990. That day, 61 countries signed it, a record first-day response. It entered into force just seven months later, on 2 September 1990.

Ratifying the Convention requires a review of national legislation to ensure it meets the provisions of the treaty. The Convention, inter alia, stipulates that every child has the right to life, and that States shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child; that every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth; and that the child's best interests shall be a primary consideration when they are dealt with by courts, welfare institutions or administrative authorities. The Convention recognizes the right of children to be heard.

States shall ensure that each child enjoys full rights without discrimination or distinction of any kind, and that children should not be separated from their parents, unless by competent authorities for their well-being. States shall facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories and protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation. Children with disabilities shall have the right to education, special treatment and care; primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in school should respect the child's dignity; capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18; no child under 15 should take any part in hostilities and children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection. Children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own cultures, religions and languages.

Optional Protocols


In May 2000, the General Assembly adopted the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Optional Protocols entered into force in 2002. Currently, 156 countries have ratified the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict; and 167 States have ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. A third Optional Protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011. It provides for a Communications Procedure to allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and the first two Optional Protocols. To date, 11 States have ratified it: Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Thailand.

Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography


Although the Convention requires States parties to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, this Optional Protocol extends the measures that States parties must undertake to protect children from these violations of their human rights. The Optional Protocol not only defines the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, but also provides a non-exhaustive list of acts and activities which shall be criminalized by States parties. This criminalization also includes attempts, complicity, or participation in such acts or activities. The Optional Protocol sets out the bases for States parties to assert jurisdiction over actionable practices relating to the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography (including extra-territorial legislation) and to make provisions about extradition of alleged offenders. Based on the principle of the best interests of the child, the Optional Protocol also sets forth provisions for protecting and assisting child victims during all stages of the criminal justice process. Preventive measures, as well as redress, rehabilitation and recovery of child victims, are also covered. For the implementation of all these provisions, the Optional Protocol asks for a close collaboration among States parties.

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict


The Optional Protocol establishes that no person under the age of 18 shall be subject to compulsory recruitment into regular armed forces, and imposes an obligation on States to raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment to at least 16 years. Upon ratification of or accession to the Optional Protocol, countries must deposit a binding declaration stating their minimum age for voluntary recruitment and the safeguards in place to ensure that that recruitment is voluntary. States Parties to the Protocol shall also ensure that members of their armed forces under 18 years of age do not take direct part in hostilities. In addition, armed groups separate from the armed forces of a State should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under 18. States parties are required to take all feasible measures to prevent the recruitment and use of children by any groups, including the criminalization of such practices.

Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure


This new Optional Protocol empowers children to complain about specific violations of their human rights under the Convention and its first two optional protocols to an international body. The Optional Protocol was transmitted by the Human Rights Council to the General Assembly in June 2011. It establishes a procedure to bring complaints under the Convention similar to those that already exist for other core human rights treaties. Upon receiving a complaint, the Committee will examine it to determine whether the Convention has been violated. The Committee will guarantee that child-sensitive procedures and safeguards are put in place to prevent the manipulation of the child by those acting on his or her behalf under the Protocol. While it is examining the complaint, the Committee may request the State to adopt interim measures to prevent possible irreparable damage to the child. It may also request protection measures to prevent reprisals, including further human rights violations, ill-treatment or intimidation, for having submitted such complaints. If the Convention is found to have been violated, the Committee will make specific recommendations for action to the State responsible. Under the Optional Protocol the Committee may now initiate inquiries into grave and systematic violations of the Convention and its first two Optional Protocols. The Optional Protocol also provides for an inter-state communications procedure. The Committee adopted the rules of procedure for this Optional Protocol (CRC/C/62/3) during its 62nd session.

The Protocol opened for signature on 28 February 2012 and entered into force on 14 April 2014, three months after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification.

Committee Membership


The Committee is made up of Experts of high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of children's rights. The following Experts currently serve in the Committee: Amal Aldoseri (Bahrain); Aseil Al-Shehail (Saudi Arabia); Jorge Cardona Llorens (Spain); Sara de Jesus Oviedo Fierro (Ecuador); Bernard Gastaud (Monaco); Peter Guran (Slovakia); Maria Herczog (Hungary); Olga Khazova (Russian Federation); Hatem Kotrane (Tunisia); Gehad Madi (Egypt); Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Ethiopia); Yasmeen Muhamad Shariff (Malaysia); Wanderlino Nogueira Neto (Brazil); Maria Rita Parsi (Italy); Kirsten Sandberg (Norway); Hiranthi Wijemanne (Sri Lanka); and Renate Winter (Austria).


Tentative Timetable for Consideration of Reports


Following is a tentative timetable for the consideration of reports from States parties to the Convention during this session:

Monday, 1 September

10 a.m.         Opening of the session and adoption of agenda
3 p.m.          Venezuela – third to fifth periodic report

Tuesday, 2 September

10 a.m.         Venezuela (continued)
3 p.m.          Venezuela - Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child
Pornography and Optional Protocol
on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

Wednesday, 3 September

10 a.m.         Morocco – third to fourth periodic report
3 p.m.          Morocco (continued)

Thursday, 4 September

10 a.m.         Morocco - Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
3 p.m.          Fiji – second to fourth periodic report

Friday, 5 September

10 a.m.         Fiji (continued)
3 p.m.          Closed meeting

Monday, 8 September

10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.          Closed meeting

Tuesday, 9 September

10 a.m.         Singapore - Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed
3 p.m.          Hungary – third to fifth periodic report

Wednesday, 10 September

10 a.m.        Hungary (continued)
3 p.m.          Hungary - Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child
Pornography and Optional Protocol
on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

Thursday, 11 September

Holiday

Friday, 12 September

10 a.m.         Day of General discussion (Palais des Nations – Room XVII)
3 p.m.          Day of General discussion (Palais des Nations – Room XVII)

Monday, 15 September

10 a.m.         Croatia – third to fourth periodic report
3 p.m.          Croatia (continued)

Tuesday, 16 September

10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.          Closed meeting

Wednesday, 17 September

10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.          Closed meeting

Thursday, 18 September
10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.           Closed meeting

Friday, 19 September

10 a.m.         Closed meeting
3 p.m.          Public closing of session



For more information and media requests, please contact Liz Throssell (+41 (0) 22 917 9466/ ethrossell@ohchr.org

To learn more about the Committee on the Rights of the Child, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CRCIndex.aspx

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/OPSCCRC.aspx
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/OPACCRC.aspx
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For use of the information media; not an official record

CRC14/013E