UN Child Rights Alternative Report

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a human rights treaty (agreement) related to the rights of children that was developed in 1989. Canada ratified (signed) the CRC on December 13, 1991. Since then, a number of laws, policies, and practices affecting children have advanced children’s rights to protection, development, and participation in decisions affecting their lives. Governments at all levels have the responsibility to provide and protect children’s Convention rights.

Every child in Canada and around the world from birth to 18 has rights. Rights are what you should have or be able to do to survive, thrive and meet your full potential. All rights are equally important and are connected to each other. You are born with these rights, and no one can take them away.

Reporting on the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Every country that has signed the CRC has to report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the progress it has made related to children’s rights and any difficulties they experienced. Countries must submit a first report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child two years after they have signed the Convention and it was approved in their country. After that, they must report to the Committee every five years. In July 2018, the Government of Canada will have to report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child; this report is called the periodic report. Countries must make this report accessible and promote it to the general public.

An individual, a group or an organization can also submit what is called an alternative report. The alternative report’s goal is to provide the Committee on the Rights of the Child with information that may not be included in the government’s report in order to provide another point of view. The alternative report can also include recommendations. For example, an alternative report can present observations or recommendations on the violations child rights that will help the Committee on the Rights of the Child better understand the situation in the country. This alternative report is usually written by community organizations and other non-governmental organizations that work with or for children and youth.

In Canada, the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children will be submitting the alternative report. Children and youth can be involved in this process. Stay tuned for more details on how you can get involved.

What is the Committee on the Rights of the Child?

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is made up of eighteen (18) child rights experts from around the world. The Committee monitors how countries are implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also monitors implementation of two Optional Protocols to the Convention: involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Part of their job is to receive and review the periodic reports.

Can children and youth participate in the periodic report or the alternative report?

Yes, the Convention clearly states that children and youth can participate and be heard on subjects that are important to them.

 Children can be involved at different stages of the reporting process. They can participate in both the periodic report and the alternative report.

  • Transparent and educational
  • Voluntary (children cannot be forced to participate)
  • Respectful of their opinions
  • Relevant to the issues that are important to them
  • Done in a child-friendly environment (taking into consideration their capacities)
  • Done in a safe matter (children may not be punished or penalized for having participated in the reporting mechanism)

What types of measures were recommended for Canada in previous reports?

What types of measures were recommended for Canada in previous reports?

  • That more information be given to children and adults about the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • That mechanisms be put in place to better acknowledge the best interest of a child and allow them to be heard and participate in the decision-making processes
  • That effective measures be put in place for children that need to be placed outside of their home, to preserve their identity and culture, especially Indigenous children
  • That children be protected against all sort of violence, including all sorts of physical punishment
  • That children with disabilities should not be forced to attend special schools and have all the necessary services to attend school with other children
  • That more resources be developed to prevent suicide among children and youth

If you want to learn more about the reporting process and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, here are a few links

 http://crcreporting.childrightsconnect.org/

https://www.humanium.org/en/convention/committee-competences/

 

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