Washington, DC (April 14, 2014) — Children whose human rights have been violated will be able to bring their grievances directly to the United Nations after a historic international treaty entered into force today. However, World Vision is calling on more nations to ratify the treaty so children in every country can access international justice.
The treaty, called the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure — or OP3 CRC for short — sets out an international complaints procedure for child rights violations. It allows children from States that have ratified the protocol to bring complaints directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The UN will then investigate the claim and can direct governments to provide remedies.
Despite the near-universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it was the only international human rights treaty that had no means for victims to seek justice when they have not found a solution at the national level.
“Every day we witness violations of children’s most basic rights. Children are fighting to survive, let alone thrive. They experience discrimination, violence in their communities, schools and homes, as well as a lack of access to basic services,” says World Vision child rights expert Sara Austin, who will address a special event at the UN in New York today to mark the entry into force of the treaty.
“Tragically, the rights of children are often neglected by decision makers and children’s views and opinions ignored. This new treaty gives children the ability to be heard directly by the United Nations and have a say in holding governments accountable.”
So far 10 countries — the threshold required for the treaty to become international law — have ratified, including Albania, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Germany, Monténégro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Thailand. An additional 45 countries have signed the protocol, indicating their intention to ratify.
“We congratulate the first 10 countries that have ratified the protocol, and we urge all others to follow this positive example. States must demonstrate their commitment to promoting and protecting children’s rights by ratifying this new treaty so more children can access international justice,” says Austin.
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information, visit www.WorldVision.org/press or follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionNews.