Amplifying the voices of children to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

© UNICEF/UNI177616/Singh

Child Rights Connect has published ‘Together with children, for children’, an updated guide for civil society organisations empowering children in the ongoing monitoring and implementation of the UNCRC and its Optional Protocols and supporting any related activities that are run by, with and for children.

CRC reporting is a critical entry-point to engage with the UN human rights system and its efforts to protect children’s rights. As human rights defenders themselves, children must be provided opportunities and supported to convey how they perceive their rights are being respected within their countries and communities.

This Guide is designed to provide practical guidance to civil society organisations that wish to promote the engagement of children in the formal CRC reporting process. It is a comprehensive overview of procedures and practices that will help gather, disseminate and present children’s viewpoints to national and international authorities and enhance their engagement in human rights monitoring and advocacy.

The guide draws on existing good practices, experiences of children and organisations, as well as highlighting barriers to children’s participation. It presents the new working methods and procedures of the CRC Committee, particularly methods for the participation of children and practical advices on the Simplified Reporting Procedure. It also includes materials such as case studies, checklists, tips, and recommendations.

“The voice of children is crucial. The development of tools such as this Guide helps adults to make sure children’s voices are part of the extremely formal reporting processes of bodies such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and that children are empowered as human rights defenders,” said Mr. Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in the guide.

The publication of this guide was followed by a milestone decision by the UN Secretary-General on child rights mainstreaming. In response to Child Rights Connect’s position paper, the office of the UNSG acknowledged the need for a holistic child rights perspective across the UN System. It stated that within the framework of his Call to Action for Human Rights, the Secretary-General has decided to develop a Guidance Note on child rights mainstreaming. This marks a clear step to address the current lack of a system-wide approach to child rights.

Child Rights Connect’s ‘Together with children, for children’ guide is complementary to its ‘My Pocket Guide to CRC reporting – A companion guide for children’, which aims to directly equip and encourage children to convey their perspective and experiences on their rights to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The complete guide can be accessed here.

Photo Credit: © UNICEF/UNI177616/Singh