Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of independent experts that monitors and reports on implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by governments that ratify the Convention.[1] The Committee also monitors implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OP-AC)[2] and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OP-SC).

History and organization

The CRC is one of the ten UN human rights treaty-based bodies.[3] The Committee was created by the Convention on 27 February 1991.[4] The Committee is made up of 18 members from different countries and legal systems who are of 'high moral standing' and experts in the field of human rights. Although members are nominated and elected by States party to the Convention, Committee members act in a personal capacity. They do not represent their countries' governments or any other organization to which they might belong. Members are elected for a four-year term and can be re-elected if nominated.

The 195 states that have ratified the Convention ("States party to the Convention") (which includes all UN member states except Somalia and the United States, South Sudan ratified on 23 January 2015) are required to submit initial and periodic reports on the national situation of children's rights to the Committee for examination. The Committee examines each report and raises concerns or makes recommendations to the State party. It also issues occasional general comments on the interpretation of particular Convention obligations. Once a year, the Committee submits a report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which also hears a statement from the CRC Chair, and the Assembly adopts a Resolution on the Rights of the Child.[5][6]

The Committee cannot consider individual complaints, although child rights may be raised before other committees with competence to consider individual complaints.[7] However, at least the case of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, 11th Panchen Lama, was considered by the Committee on 28 May 1996, as well as at other later dates.[8]

In November 2014, for the first time, the Committee joined with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to release a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of States to prevent and eliminate harmful practices done to women and girls.[9]


The current members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child are listed on the Web site of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.[10] Information on former CRC members is linked from the same Web page.

Periodic Report on the Holy See

In February 2014 the Committee, after interviewing two top officials of the Catholic Church, published observations[11] described as "a scathing indictment of the Vatican’s handling of child sexual abuse cases involving clerics, releasing a report that included criticism of church teachings on homosexuality, gender equality and abortion".[12] The Holy See released a critical statement and said that it did not appreciate being asked to change its position on issues it considered immutable. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer at the UN, said that he suspected pro-gay rights NGOs had influenced the committee and "reinforced an ideological line" in the UN. Advocates for the survivors of clerical sex abuse welcomed the committee's findings.[13][14]

See also


  1. ^ Text of the Convention. Archived 11 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Yun, Seira (2014). "Breaking Imaginary Barriers: Obligations of Armed Non-State Actors Under General Human Rights Law – The Case of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child". Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies. 5 (1–2): 213–257. SSRN 2556825.
  3. ^ "OHCHR | Human Rights Bodies". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  4. ^ " Committee on the Rights of the Child - What it is and how it works". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  5. ^ Child Rights Information Network (2008). Convention on the Rights of the Child Archived 3 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 26 November 2008.
  6. ^ Resolution on the Rights of the Child, 21 November 2012.
  7. ^ Human Rights Bodies - Complaints Procedures
  8. ^ Gedhun Choekyi Nyima: the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet Archived 24 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine website of TCHRD
  9. ^ "UN human rights experts set out countries' obligations to tackle harmful practices such as FGM and forced marriage". United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  10. ^ Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights: Members of the CRC
  11. ^ Committee on the Rights of the Child: Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See, 31 January 2014 draft published on the Washington Post Web site
  12. ^ Faiola, Anthony; Boorstein, Michelle (5 February 2014). "U.N. panel blasts Vatican handling of clergy sex abuse, church teachings on gays, abortion". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  13. ^ Katherine Gallagher, a senior staff attorney at the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights was among those who welcomed the Committee's findings on sex abuse within the Catholic Church
  14. ^ Davies, Lizzy; McDonald, Henry (5 February 2014). "Vatican envoy rejects UN panel's critical verdict on clerical abuse scandal". The Guardian. London.

External links

Best interests

Best interests or best interests of the child is a child rights principle, which derives from Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that “in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. Assessing the best interests of a child means to evaluate and balance “all the elements necessary to make a decision in a specific situation for a specific individual child or group of children”.

Campaigns against corporal punishment

Campaigns against corporal punishment aim to reduce or eliminate corporal punishment of minors by instigating legal and cultural changes in the areas where such punishments are practiced. Such campaigns date mostly from the late 20th century, although occasional voices in opposition to corporal punishment existed from ancient times through to the modern era.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines "corporal punishment" as:

any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. Most involves hitting ("smacking", "slapping", "spanking") children, with the hand or with an implement – whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. But it can also involve, for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion.

Child Rights Taskforce – Australia

UNICEF Australia and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre (NCYLC) co-convene the Child Rights Taskforce, Australia’s peak child rights body made up of almost 100 organisations, advocating for the protection of child rights in Australia. Its goal is to lead the sector-wide approach to the UN on how we think the Australian Government is faring in its commitment to children.

The Child Rights Taskforce is made up of advocates, service providers, individuals and experts all focused on achieving child rights in Australia. It meets regularly to discuss upcoming opportunities and events to promote and protect child rights in Australia. One of the main roles of the Taskforce is to hold the Australian government to account on its commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Children in the military

Children in the military are children (defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child as persons under the age of 18) who are associated with military organisations, such as state armed forces and non-state armed groups. Throughout history and in many cultures, children have been involved in military campaigns. For example, thousands of children participated on all sides of the First World War and the Second World War. Children may be trained and used for combat, assigned to support roles such as porters or messengers, or used for tactical advantage as human shields or for political advantage in propaganda.Children are easy targets for military recruitment due to their greater susceptibility to influence compared to adults. Some are recruited by force while others choose to join up, often to escape poverty or because they expect military life to offer a rite of passage to maturity.Child recruits who survive armed conflict frequently suffer psychiatric illness, poor literacy and numeracy, and behavioural problems such as heightened aggression, leading to a high risk of poverty and unemployment in adulthood. Research in the UK and US has also found that the enlistment of adolescent children, even when they are not sent to war, is accompanied by a higher risk of attempted suicide, stress-related mental disorders, alcohol misuse, and violent behaviour.A number of treaties have sought to curb the participation of children in armed conflicts. According to Child Soldiers International these agreements have helped to reduce child recruitment, but the practice remains widespread and children continue to participate in hostilities around the world. Some economically powerful nations continue to rely on military recruits aged 16 or 17, and the use of younger children in armed conflict has increased in recent years as militant Islamist movements and the groups fighting them recruited children in large numbers.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation.Nations that ratify this convention are bound to it by international law. Compliance is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is composed of members from countries around the world. Once a year, the Committee submits a report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which also hears a statement from the CRC Chair, and the Assembly adopts a Resolution on the Rights of the Child.Governments of countries that have ratified the Convention are required to report to, and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically to be examined on their progress with regards to the advancement of the implementation of the Convention and the status of child rights in their country. Their reports and the committee's written views and concerns are available on the committee's website.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention and opened it for signature on 20 November 1989 (the 30th anniversary of its Declaration of the Rights of the Child). It came into force on 2 September 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations. Currently, 196 countries are party to it, including every member of the United Nations except the United States.Two optional protocols were adopted on 25 May 2000. The First Optional Protocol restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts, and the Second Optional Protocol prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Both protocols have been ratified by more than 160 states.A third optional protocol relating to communication of complaints was adopted in December 2011 and opened for signature on 28 February 2012. It came into effect on 14 April 2014.

Danny Danon

Danny Danon (Hebrew: דני דנון, born 8 May 1971) is Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Danon previously served a member of the Knesset from the Likud Party, as Minister of Science, Technology and Space, and as Deputy Minister of Defense. During his term in the 18th Knesset, Danon served as Deputy Speaker, Chair of the Special Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Chair of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. In June 2016, Danon was elected as chair of the UN’s Legal Committee, the first Israeli to ever hold the position.

Elisabeth Tigerstedt-Tähtelä

Elisabeth Tigerstedt-Tähteläis a Finnish diplomat. She is a Master in lawyer and has been Finnish Ambassador to several countriesTigerstedt-Tähtelä has been Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam from 1988 to 1989, and in Cairo, Egypt from 1990 to 1992 and in Zagreb, Croatia from 1997 to 1998Tigerstedt-Tähtelä retired from post of Ambassador to Croatia in autumn 1998 and has subsequently worked for the Committee on the Rights of the Child (during the four-year term from 1999 to 2003.

Human rights in Niue

Niue is a country in the South Pacific Ocean with an estimated population of 1,190. Since 1974, it has been self-governing in free association with New Zealand. Niue controls its own internal affairs, while New Zealand retains responsibility for its defence and external relations and is required to provide necessary economic and administrative assistance.

Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand

Founded by Mani Mitchell in 1996, Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand, also known as Intersex Awareness New Zealand is a national advocacy and peer support organisation for intersex people in New Zealand.

Intersex rights in Nepal

In 2015, Nepal introduced constitutional recognition for "gender and sexual minorities". Despite this, the rights situation of intersex people in Nepal (locally termed antarlingi) is unclear. Local activists have identified human rights violations, including significant gaps in protection of rights to physical integrity and bodily autonomy, and protection from discrimination. A first national meeting of intersex people look place in early 2016, with support from the UNDP.

Intersex rights in South Africa

Intersex people in South Africa have some of the same rights as other people, but with significant gaps in protection from non-consensual cosmetic medical interventions and protection from discrimination. The country was the first to explicitly include intersex people in anti-discrimination law.

Jean Zermatten

Jean Zermatten (born 2 March 1948 in Sion, Valais) is a specialist of children's rights. He is the son of the Swiss writer Maurice Zermatten. He is Chairman of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and is the first Swiss member of this Committee.After studying Law at the University of Fribourg, he became clerk, and later "ad hoc" judge at the Criminal Court for Juveniles in Fribourg. Then he's President and Dean of the Juvenile Court of the Canton of Valais during 25 years. Between 1989 and 1999, he held lectures at the University of Fribourg (Social Work, Arts and Law School). In 2005, he founded the International Institute for the Rights of the Child which he still leads today. He is active in the direction of academics programmes concerning children's rights and protection too.

Jean Zermatten is a member of the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child, since 2005; he was elected as the Chairperson of this UN Treaty body in May 2011.

In 2007, he received the title of Doctor honoris causa from the University of Fribourg.Jean Zermatten also contributed to draft law projects:

charged by the Swiss Confederation to draft a Project for the 1st unified Law for the criminal Procedure for Minors

charged by the cantons from the Latin part of Switzerland to draft an inter-cantonal concordat on the implementation of measures for young offenders. This concordat has been accepted in October 2003

collaborated to the creation of the first Swiss children's rights network, gathering more than 50 Swiss NGOsHe was the President of the Swiss society for the criminal law for juveniles as well as the President of the International Association of Magistrates for Youth and Family (IAMYF).

Kamal Uddin Siddiqui

Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, is a Bangledishi economist and social scientist. He is faculty member of Monash University,In 1971, he participated in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. A career civil servant, he served as the Principal Secretary to the government of Bangladesh until 2006. He was nominated by Bangladesh for election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and served from 2005–09. He was until 2006 Chief Editor of the Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh, the first volumes of which were published in 2008 by Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.

Kirsten Sandberg

Kirsten Sandberg (born 23 April 1954) is a Norwegian jurist and expert on the rights of children. She has served as Acting Supreme Court Justice in Norway, and has performed as chair of the Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Lucy Smith

Lucy Caroline Smith (born Dahl; 12 October 1934 – 27 August 2013) was a Norwegian legal scholar and professor of law at the University of Oslo. She served as rector of the university from 1993 to 1998.She was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. In 1987 she became Norway's first female (full) professor of law. She has published the book Foreldremyndighet og barnerett. Smith was a member of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. In the 1980s, Smith became well-known to the public as the principal judge of the popular quiz show Kvitt eller dobbelt.Smith was the wife of Carsten Smith, the former Chief Justice of Norway's Supreme Court. Before that appointment, he was also a law professor at the University of Oslo.

Moushira Khattab

Ambassador Moushira Mahmoud Khattab is an Egyptian politician and diplomat born in 1944. She is the former Minister of Family & Population of, Former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of Egypt to the South Africa, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well serving in Egypt’s diplomatic missions in Australia, Hungary, Austria and the United Nations in New York and Vienna. She is also a human rights activist advocating the rights of children and women and the former Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child based at the UN Headquarters in Geneva. On 19 July 2016, the Prime Minister of Egypt announced that Khattab will be Egypt's candidate for the post of UNESCO Director-General at the elections due to be held in 2017.

Polygamy in Eritrea

Since the introduction of the current Marriage Law introduced by the EPLF in 1977, polygamy has been illegal in Eritrea. The 2015 Penal Code of the State of Eritrea states that participating in a second marriage will annul the first. If the first marriage is not annulled, one is guilty of bigamy, which is punishable with "a definite term of imprisonment of not less than 6 months and not more than 12 months, or a fine of 20,001 – 50,000 Nakfas."

Right to clothing

The right to adequate clothing, or the right to clothing, is recognized as a human right in various international human rights instruments; this, together with the right to food and the right to housing, are parts of the right to an adequate standard of living as recognized under Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The right to clothing is similarly recognized under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Unaccompanied minor

An unaccompanied minor (sometimes "unaccompanied child" or "separated child") is a child without the presence of a legal guardian.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines unaccompanied minors and unaccompanied children as those "who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so." The Committee defines separated children as those "who have been separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives. These may, therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members."

International institutions
Regional bodies
Multi-lateral bodies
Major NGOs

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