Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of the child on a communications procedure

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The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure is an international treaty that supplements the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It provides a mechanism for individual children, or groups of children, to bring complaints or communications directly to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child if they believe their rights under the CRC have been violated.

The Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2011 and entered into force on April 14, 2014. It enhances the ability of children to seek redress for violations of their rights by establishing a procedure for the submission and consideration of complaints.

Key features of the Optional Protocol include:

  1. Communications Procedure: The Optional Protocol allows children or their representatives to submit complaints, known as communications, to the Committee on the Rights of the Child if they have exhausted all available domestic remedies. Communications can only be submitted on behalf of children or groups of children whose rights under the CRC have been violated.
  2. Committee on the Rights of the Child: The Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the CRC. Under the Optional Protocol, the Committee receives and considers the communications submitted by children. The Committee reviews the communications and may issue recommendations to the concerned state party, urging them to take action to remedy the violations.
  3. State Party Obligations: States that have ratified the Optional Protocol are required to establish or designate a national human rights institution or an ombudsperson to assist children in submitting communications to the Committee. They are also expected to provide the Committee with regular reports on the measures they have taken to implement the Optional Protocol.
  4. Confidentiality and Protection: The Optional Protocol ensures confidentiality and protection for children involved in the communications procedure. It prohibits any form of reprisal or intimidation against children or individuals submitting communications and encourages states to take measures to protect children and their representatives from any harm.

It’s important to note that not all countries have ratified the Optional Protocol, so its availability and implementation may vary across different jurisdictions. Additionally, there are specific criteria and procedures that must be followed when submitting communications, so it’s advisable to consult the relevant international and domestic legal resources for detailed guidance if considering utilizing this mechanism.

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