The New Kid on the Block – A Complaints Procedure for the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Journal article


Langford, Malcolm and Clark, Sevda. (2010). The New Kid on the Block – A Complaints Procedure for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Nordic Journal of Human Rights. 28(3-4), pp. 371-400. https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN1891-814X-2010-03-04-03
AuthorsLangford, Malcolm and Clark, Sevda
Abstract

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the only core international human rights treaty to lack a complaints mechanism. Unlike the other eight treaties falling in this category, there is no protocol or other procedure that allows allegations of concrete violations to be heard by its oversight body. In the last eighteen months, the UN Human Rights Council has moved at remarkable speed in seeking to fill this institutional lacuna.

On 17 June 2009, the Council established an Open-ended Working Group for this purpose. Its' mandate was to 'explore the possibility of elaborating an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide a communications procedure'. The Working Group first met in December 2009 to discuss the merits of such a mechanism which attracted the attendance of more than one hundred governments in addition to UN agencies and numerous civil society organisations.

With the objective of critically focusing on the justifications for the protocol, this article was prepared and publicly presented after the first session. Since then the Working Group has accelerated its work. With the support of the Council,⁴ the Chair produced the text of a draft protocol for discussion in December 2010. We have analysed this text elsewhere but believe, it is worth maintaining a focus on the rationalisations for and against the protocol. They remain highly relevant for ongoing drafting choices and the eventual discussions over ratification.

The paper proceeds by providing in Section II some historical background to the CRC and the creation of the Working Group. Section III analyses the 'pros' and 'cons' of a complaints procedure for children by sifting through the arguments raised in the Working Group. The final section discusses some of the problematic ways in which the discussion is being framed and comments on key issues that need to be addressed in the drafting, including lessons from other international
processes and the growing practice of children rights litigation.

KeywordsConvention on the Rights of the Child; human rights; complaint resolution; United Nations Human Rights Council; children; childrens' rights litigation
Year01 Jan 2010
JournalNordic Journal of Human Rights
Journal citation28 (3-4), pp. 371-400
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
ISSN1891-8131
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN1891-814X-2010-03-04-03
Web address (URL)https://www.idunn.no/doi/10.18261/ISSN1891-814X-2010-03-04-03
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range371-400
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print20 May 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited06 May 2024
Additional information

© UNIVERSITETSFORLAGET 2010

Place of publicationNorway
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