First anniversary of the UN communications procedure for children marks time for global action 

Geneva/ New York, April 14, 2015 – As we celebrate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, the International Coalition Ratify OP3CRC, – whose Terre des Hommes is part – together with the leading UN experts on children’s rights, including Kirsten Sandberg, Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, and on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, as well as the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio,  call on all States to make a quantum leap on the path to justice for children through the ratification of the Third Optional Protocol without delay.

The mechanism allows children or their representatives to report child rights violations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in cases where the national legal system fails to provide remedy for these violations. The Committee then investigates the complaints, and can ask governments to take action.

“This tool completes the international framework for the protection of children’s rights. It encourages States to improve their national justice systems and thus contributes to the most essential when it comes to children’s rights –implementation”, explains the Committee’s Chairperson Kirsten Sandberg. “It has the potential to allow child victims to be heard at the international level and ensure the accountability of States. Moreover, giving access to meaningful redress is essential for the recovery and rehabilitation of child victims”, stresses Maud de Boer-Buquicchio.

Ongoing conflicts all over the world show how vulnerable children are.  “We need to continue our efforts to strengthen international and legal mechanisms, like the Third Optional Protocol, to ensure every child in the world has access to justice,” said Leila Zerrougui.

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