COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

Decisions

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has issued a number of decisions, which it calls 'Decisions', on on the following subjects:

Date

No.

Subject

09/201914 Session of the Committee in the Pacific region
09/201713 Joint general comments of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the Committee on the Rights of the Child
05/201612 Guidelines against Intimidation or Reprisals (San José Guidelines)
04/201611 Follow-up of resolution 68/268 on Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system
02/201110 Decision of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to request approval from the General Assembly
10/20109 Periodicity and Format of Reports – to supersede previous related decisions
06/20058 Consideration of reports under the two Optional Protocols of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
10/20047 Children without parental care
09/20036 Committee to work in two chambers
01/20035 Submission of periodic reports
05/20024 Content and size of State reports
01/20023 Exceptional submission of combined State reports
09/19992 Administration of juvenile justice
09/19981 Children in armed conflict
Decision No. 14 on holding a session of the Committee in the Pacific region

At its 2430th meeting, pursuant to article 43 (10) of the Convention, which provides that the meetings of the Committee are normally to be held at United Nations Headquarters or at any other convenient place as determined by the Committee, the Committee, taking note of the position paper of the Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies on the future of the treaty body system (A/74/256, annex III), decided to look at the possibility of holding a session of the Committee in the Pacific region.

(Adopted on 27 September 2019)

Decision No. 13 on joint general comments of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Noting the desire of the Committee to provide comprehensive guidance to States parties through its joint general comments with the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on the human rights of children in the context of international migration,

Noting that General Assembly resolution 68/268 establishes strict limits of 10,700 words for all documents produced by the treaty bodies,

Also noting the volume of input received from the consultations held in Bangkok, Beirut, Berlin, Dakar, Geneva, Madrid and Mexico City which have enriched the joint general comments on children in situations of international migration, in particular from the regional perspective,

Further noting that reducing the joint general comment to 10,700 words will adversely affect the quality of the output and its usefulness to States parties,

1. Hereby decides to establish two joint general comments with the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families as follows:

(a) Joint general comment No. 3 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and No. 22 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the general principles regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration;

(b) Joint general comment No. 4 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and No. 23 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on State obligations regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration in countries of origin, transit, destination and return.

2. Decides further that, while standing in their own right, the two general comments complement each other and should be read and implemented together.

(Adopted on 11 September 2017)

Decision No. 12 on the Guidelines against Intimidation or Reprisals (San José Guidelines)

At its 2106th meeting, the Committee, taking note of the Guidelines against Intimidation or Reprisals (San José Guidelines) endorsed at the 27th meeting of the Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies, decided to unanimously adopt the San José Guidelines. It would implement them in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the three Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Committee’s rules of procedure.

(Adopted on 18 May 2016)

Decision no. 11 on Follow-up of resolution 68/268 on Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system

(adopted on 19 September 2014)

At its 1928th meeting the Committee, taking note of General Assembly resolution 68/268 on Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system, and of the outcome of the meeting of the 26th annual meeting of chairpersons of treaty bodies, decided:

  1. to adopt in principle a simplified reporting procedure, and to offer this optional procedure to States Parties in 2016 having first reduced the backlog of reports awaiting consideration in 2015;
  2. to follow the format of concluding observations proposed by the Chairperson’s meeting and to work to reduce the word length of concluding observations by 20% of the current average length by the end of 2015; and
  3. to appoint a member of the Committee as rapporteur on reprisals to deal with allegations of reprisals against individuals and groups on the basis of their cooperation with the Committee.
Decision No. 10 on approval from the General Assembly to work in two chambers once per year

(Adopted on 11 February 2011)

In view of the number of States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which now stands at 193, and to its Optional Protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which now stand at 142 and 139, respectively, and their reporting obligations, the current status of submission of reports and the projected future submission of reports, the Committee on the Rights of the Child is convinced that effective and timely implementation of its responsibilities under article 44 of the Convention and articles 8 and 12 of its Optional Protocols require that it be granted more meeting time on a sustainable basis.

Faced with a backlog of reports pending consideration, the Committee adopted at its thirty-seventh session in 2004 a decision to work in two chambers, which was implemented in 2006. In the course of that year, the reports of 48 States parties were considered and the backlog of reports awaiting review was eliminated, thereby encouraging the submission of overdue reports by many States parties. When the Committee resumed single-chamber sessions, a backlog again began to accumulate. In 2008, it decided to request the General Assembly to approve the holding of a further four two-chamber sessions; three were approved and held in 2010. During those sessions, 54 reports under the Convention and the Optional Protocols were examined. While the two-chamber sessions enabled the Committee to keep the backlog of reports from growing beyond approximately 80 reports, they did not allow for any progress to be made toward a reduction of the backlog. Since the last of the double-chamber sessions in October 2010, the backlog has again begun to increase and currently stands at approximately 90 reports.

In order to address the backlog and to encourage timely reporting, so as to ensure appropriate monitoring of the Convention and its Optional Protocols on a sustainable basis, the Committee has concluded that it would require one of its three annual sessions to be held in two chambers, which would amount to 13 additional working days of sessional meetings and five additional days of pre-sessional meetings per year.

The Committee therefore requests the General Assembly, at its sixty-sixth session, to approve the present request and to provide appropriate financial support to enable the Committee to work in two chambers at pre-sessional working group meetings due to take place in 2012 and at a session to be held in 2013.

The Committee would consider the reports of States parties during its regular sessions, in two parallel chambers, each consisting of nine members of the Committee, taking due account of equitable geographical distribution, thereby increasing the number of reports of States parties to be examined from 10 to 18 during one annual session, which, over three sessions, would result in an increase in the number of reports considered from 30 to 38 reports per year.

Decision No. 9 on the Periodicity and Format of Reports – to supersede previous related decisions

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Stressing the crucial importance of periodic reporting by States parties, in conformity with the obligations under article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

Concerned by the workload of the Committee, including the challenge generated by the initial reporting obligations under the two Optional Protocols, and the current backlog of reports pending for review;

Especially concerned by State party reports’ lack of conformity with reporting guidelines, the length of some periodic reports submitted under the Convention and the difficulties in ensuring timely translation for State party reports and replies to lists of issues;

Decides, therefore, to apply the following rules:

  1. All States parties will be informed of the next due date for their reports in their concluding observations under the Convention. The due date will normally be 5 years after the date of the Committee’s adoption of concluding observations. For States parties whose reports are delayed, the Committee will continue to allow combined periodic reports.
  2. The Committee informs State parties that the Committee has adopted Harmonized Treaty Specific Reporting Guidelines on 1 October 2010 (CRC/C/58/Rev.2) and that future State party reports should not exceed 60 pages.

    The Committee urges all States parties to submit their reports in accordance with the reporting guidelines both with regard to contents and length.

    Should a report exceeding the page limitations be submitted, the State party will be asked to review and eventually resubmit their report in accordance with the above mentioned guidelines.

    The Committee reminds the State party that if it is not in a position to review and resubmit the report, then translation of the report for purposes of examination of the treaty body cannot be guaranteed.

  3. The Committee also invites the State party to submit an updated core document in accordance with the requirements of the Common Core Document in the Harmonized Guidelines on Reporting, approved by the 5th Inter-Committee meeting of the human rights treaty bodies in June 2006 (HRI/MC/2006/3).

    The treaty-specific document and the common core document together constitute the full report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Decision No. 8 on the consideration of reports under the two Optional Protocols of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Committee on the Rights of the Child

Welcoming the fact that over half of the Member States of the United Nations, including States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, have ratified the Convention's Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflicts and the one on Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Encouraging the remaining States Parties to the Convention and other States to ratify the Optional Protocols as soon as possible in order to strengthen the rights of children covered in both the Protocols.

Noting the provision under the two Optional Protocols requiring States parties to submit separate initial reports on the implementation of the Protocols within two years after ratification, which implies the possibility of submission of a report shortly after ratification.

Welcoming the reports on the Optional Protocol received so far and urging States Parties of which initial reports are overdue to submit them as a matter of priority and the other States Parties to do it as soon as possible.

Adopts the following rules for the examination of initial reports on Optional Protocols:

  1. Reports received approximately at the same time as a regular periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child will be considered at the session at which this regular periodic report will be examined. Additional separate time will be scheduled for this examination if the State is a Party to both OP's and has submitted approximately at the same time both initial reports.
  2. States parties to both Optional Protocols are encouraged, whenever possible, to submit their initial reports at the same time and preferably not later than the ultimate date at which the initial report is due for the Optional Protocol ratified first. The examination of the two initial reports, will be scheduled for a regular session of the Committee.
  3. In case the rules mentioned before do not apply, the Committee will apply the following ones:

    a) if the State is only a party to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, the initial report to this instrument will be considered at a regular session of the Committee if the State Party concerned is facing or has recently faced serious difficulties in respecting and implementing the provisions enshrined in the Optional Protocol. For other States Parties, the Committee will offer them a choice of an examination in writing (technical review) or one at a regular session of the Committee which include a dialogue with representatives of the concerned State Party.

    b) if the State is only a party to the Optional Protocol on Sale of children, child prostitution and child, the initial report on this instrument will be examined by the Committee at one of its regular sessions.

  4. Initial reports submitted under both Optional Protocols will also be included in the agenda of the Committee's Pre-sessional Working Group meetings.
Decision No. 7 on children without parental care

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Bearing in mind that the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the child’s right to be cared for by his or her parents, and to benefit from protection while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child, as well as specifying the obligations of States Parties to provide suitable alternative care when a child is temporarily or permanently unable to remain within his or her family environment;

Recognising the frequency with which its Concluding Observations provided to States Parties following periodic consideration of their reports address serious difficulties regarding care provision for children in informal or formal fostering, including kinship care and adoption, or residential facilities, often recommending the strengthening and regular monitoring of alternative care measures;

Recalling the Decision made following its General Discussion on state violence against children in 2000, that States Parties develop the use of alternative measures in order to avoid long term placement of children in institutions that do not provide the type of setting children need, not only for survival, but also for development, including psychological, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development, in a manner compatible with human dignity and to prepare the child for individual live in a free society, in accordance with article 6.2 of the Convention;

Reiterating the concern expressed at its 1997 Day of Discussion on Children with Disabilities regarding the institutionalization of children with disabilities;

Recognising that, notwithstanding the existence of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and certain other international instruments, precise guidance available to States working to meet their obligations with respect to suitable alternative care remains partial and limited;

Noting with concern the significant number of children currently orphaned or otherwise separated from their parents due to a large variety of reasons, including conflict, violence, poverty, AIDS and social breakdown, and the projections for this number to grow;

  1. Welcomes the efforts made by regional and inter-agency bodies to define principles and standards of care for children without parental care, notably the Decision of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to Member States on Children’s Rights in Residential Institutions, and the Inter-Agency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied and Separated Children;
  2. Notes with great appreciations that an increasing number of States parties are reviewing their policies of institutionalization of children and introduced various alternative care measures and programmes in order to offer improved protection of the rights of children without parental care; and encourages the other State parties to undertake similar reviews;
  3. Recommends that the UN Commission on Human Rights:

    a. consider establishing at its 61 st session (2005) a working group to prepare a draft of UN Guidelines for the protection and alternative care of children without parental care by 2008;

    b. request the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), other interested intergovernmental bodies and international NGOs to provide, in consultation with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, information and support to the Working Group in pursuance of this objective;

    c. request a report on progress achieved in this regard for consideration at its 62nd session (2006).

1) Relevant instruments include the 1986 Declaration of Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with special reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally, and the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.

Decision No. 6 on the Committee to work in two chambers

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Once more welcoming the rapid and un-precedent rate of ratifications and accessions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) by 192 states parties, making it the most universally ratified international human rights instrument;

Recalling that in accordance with article 44 of the Convention, States parties are requested to submit periodically reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child for the purpose of examining progress made in achieving the realization of the obligations recognized under the Convention;

Noting with great concern that since several years the Committee on the Rights of the child is struggling with an extremely heavy workload as well as an important backlog of States parties report – resulting in approximately two years of delay between the submission of such report and its consideration by the Committee;

Aware that 13 States parties initial reports and approximately 100 second periodic ones are overdue;

Stressing the fact that since the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, respectively on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict, entered into force in early 2002; initial reports under these protocols will be submitted by States parties as of January 2004;

Recalling its Decision adopted at its fifth session in January 1994 requesting the General Assembly at its 49th session to increase the number of its sessions and pre-sessional meetings from two to three a year in order to better address its workload; a request agreed-upon by the General Assembly (A/RES/49/211);

Recalling that in January 2000, the Committee decided to increase its workload by fifty percent, considering 27 States parties report a year instead of 18, in order to attempt to decrease the backlog of States parties reports;

Also highlighting the fact that in order to rationalize its work and the one of states parties, the Committee had decided at its thirtieth session (2002) to request all States parties to submit periodic reports not longer than 120 standard pages;

Welcoming the entry into force on 18 November 2002 of the amendment to article 43.2 of the Convention increasing membership of the Committee from ten to eighteen members;

Also welcoming the on-going dialogue the Committee has established with States parties to the Convention, including during a recent informal meeting held in Geneva on 19 January 2003, on the implications of its heavy workload, possible remedies to address more efficiently its mandate, including through the possibility of a twochamber committee system, and the Secretary’s General treaty bodies proposal.

Convinced that it needs a fundamental reform of its working methods in order to deal with its exceptionally important and ever increasing workload, the Committee;

  1. Agrees on the principle of meeting in two chambers in the future, with due consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution; therefore increasing its capacity to deal with States parties reports from 27 to 48 a year, and other type of activities.
  2. Request the General Assembly at its fifty-eight session to approve and provide appropriate financial support to the Committee to work in two chambers, as of October 2004 for its 37th pre-sessional working group and as of January 2005 for its 38th session. Such functioning of a two chamber system would take place initially for a two year period until the Committee’s 43rd session (fall 2006) and would then be evaluated for possible renewal.
Decision No. 5 on the submission of periodic reports

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Stressing the crucial importance of periodic reporting by States parties, in conformity with the obligations under article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, (a) within two years after the entry into force of the Convention for the State party concerned and (b) thereafter every five years,

Noting that many States parties have yet to submit their second periodic report under the Convention,

Acknowledging that at the time of the dialogue with the Committee States parties have updated the information they provided in their initial report in the written replies submitted to the list of issues,

Recalling the Decision adopted at its twenty-ninth session,

Acknowledging the need to support States parties in an effort to ensure compliance with the strict time frame established by article 44, paragraph 1, of the Convention,

  1. Reiterates its decision to inform States parties in the respective concluding observations adopted by the Committee of the deadline for the submission of their second and, where appropriate, following periodic reports;
  2. Decides, therefore, to apply the following additional rule:

    When the second periodic report is due between one and two years following the dialogue with the Committee, the State party shall be requested to submit that report combined with the third one. However, due to the important number of reports received by the Committee every year, and the related delay between the date of submission of a State party report and its consideration by the Committee, the Committee urges the State party, in order to reduce the delay, to submit its consolidated second and third report 18 months before its due date. This rule also applies, mutatis mutandis, when a similar situation occurs with the third and fourth periodic reports;

  3. Stresses that these rules apply only as an exceptional measure, taken for one time only, in an attempt to provide an opportunity for a State party to respect the strict reporting periodicity foreseen in article 44, paragraph 1, of the Convention;
  4. Recommends that, in addition to providing information on legislative developments and the situation de jure, States parties give due attention in their periodic reports to analysing the situation de facto in the State party, including information on concrete measures taken to enhance the implementation of domestic and international legal provisions and principles and, if any, related limitations and obstacles.
Decision No. 4 on the Organization of Work: Content and size of State reports

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Noting with appreciation the exceptionally high number of States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (191) and the rapid pace of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (33), and the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (33).

Welcoming the relatively high reporting rate for initial reports by State parties under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (167 out of 191),

Stressing the generally satisfactory quality of initial and periodic reports, as well as written responses to the list of issues, submitted by States parties under the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

Concerned by the workload of the Committee, including the forthcoming challenge generated by new reporting obligations under the two Optional Protocols,

Especially concerned by the excessive length of some periodic reports submitted under the Convention,

  1. Decides to review in the near future its guidelines for periodic reporting (CRC/C/58) in order to encourage States parties not to submit overly lengthy periodic reports;
  2. Requests all States parties to the Convention to submit periodic reports that are concise, analytical and focusing on key implementation issues, and the length of which will not exceed 120 regular size pages;
  3. Also requests all States parties to focus their periodic reports under the Convention in particular on two aspects of implementation aimed at:
    a) in light of article 44 of the Convention, informing the Committee on progress made on the enjoyment of human rights by children, factors and difficulties affecting the degree of fulfillment of obligations under the Convention, and measures taken to implement the Committee’s concluding observations – by explicitly referring them - adopted with respect to the previous State party report and the ensuing dialogue;
    b) informing the Committee on fundamental developments in the State party during the reporting period with regard to the human rights of children. In this regard, States parties should avoid repeating information already contained in previous reports submitted to the Committee, in light of article 44.3.
  4. Recommends that, in addition to information on legislative developments and the situation de jure, States parties give due attention in their periodic reports to analysing the situation in the State party de facto, including information on concrete measures taken to enhance the implementation of domestic and international legal provisions and principles and, if any, related limitations and obstacles.

CRC/C/118, 30th Session, May 2002.

Decision No. 3 on the Methods of Work: Exceptional Submission of Combined Reports

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Stressing the crucial importance of periodic reporting by States parties in conformity with the obligations under article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

"(a) within two years after the entry into force of the Convention for the State party concerned;
(b) Thereafter every five years",

Noting that many States parties have yet to submit their second periodic report under the Convention,

Acknowledging that at the time of the dialogue with the Committee States parties have up-dated the information they provided in their initial report in the written replies submitted to the list of issues,

Expressing the need to support States parties in an effort to ensure compliance with the strict timeframe established by the Convention (article 44.1.),

  1. Decides to inform States parties in the related concluding observations adopted by the Committee about the deadline for the submission of their second and, where appropriate, following periodic reports;
  2. Therefore, decides to apply the following rules:
    i) when the second periodic report is due within a year after the dialogue with the Committee, the State party shall be requested to submit that report combined with the third one. This rule also applies (mutatis mutandis) when a similar situation occurs with the third and fourth periodic reports.
    ii) when the second periodic report is already due at the time of the dialogue and the third report is due 2 years or more after the dialogue with the State party, the State party shall be requested to submit the combined second and third reports at the time when the third report is due as prescribed under the terms of the Convention. This rule also applies (mutatis mutandis) in cases when the second and third reports are due at the time of the dialogue.
  3. Stresses that these rules apply only on the basis of an exceptional measure taken for one time only by State party in an attempt to provide an opportunity for them to respect the strict reporting periodicity foreseen in the Convention (article 44.1).

CRC/C/114, 29th Session, January 2002.

Decision No. 2 on the Administration of Juvenile Justice

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Bearing in mind that the implementation of articles 37, 40 and 39 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child must be considered in conjunction with all the other provisions and principles of the Convention and should take into account other existing international standards, such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules"), adopted by the General Assembly by its resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985, the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency ("The Riyadh Guidelines"), adopted and proclaimed by the Assembly by its resolution 45/112 of 14 December 1990, the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, adopted by the Assembly by resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990, and the Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System, annexed to Economic and Social Council resolution 1997/30 of 21 July 1997,

Recalling that since the beginning of its work, the administration of juvenile justice has received consistent and systematic attention from the Committee in the form of concrete Decisions in the concluding observations adopted in relation to States parties' reports,

Noting that the experience of the Committee in its review of reports presented by States parties on their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child has shown that in all regions of the world and in relation to all legal systems, the provisions of the Convention relating to the administration of juvenile justice are in many instances not reflected in national legislation or practice, giving cause for serious concern,

Recalling that at its tenth session in 1995 the Committee devoted one day to a general discussion on the administration of juvenile justice, emphasizing the implementation of existing international standards, and the need to strengthen international cooperation both within and outside the United Nations system (see CRC/C/46, paras 203-238)

Welcoming the establishment, as recommended in the Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System, of the Coordination Panel on technical advice and assistance in juvenile justice in order to facilitate the coordination of activities in this field undertaken by relevant entities of the United Nations system as well as non-governmental organizations, professional groups and academic societies involved in the provision of technical advice and assistance,

  1. Calls upon States parties to give urgent attention to undertaking all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention and existing international standards relating to the administration of juvenile justice;
  2. Stresses the importance of identifying and understanding the legal, social, financial and other obstacles preventing the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention and existing international standards relating to the administration of juvenile justice and of designing ways and means to overcome these obstacles, including raising awareness and strengthening technical assistance;
  3. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to give priority to promoting the implementation of the provisions of the Convention and existing international standards relating to the administration of juvenile justice, to consider what steps might be taken to identify obstacles preventing their full implementation and to design ways and means to overcome these obstacles, including raising awareness and strengthening technical assistance, in cooperation with United Nations bodies and agencies, and other partners;
  4. Suggests that the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in accordance with her mandate as the coordinator of the human rights promotion and protection activities throughout the United Nations system, as stated in General Assembly resolution 48/141 of 20 December 1993, encourage all appropriate United Nations bodies and agencies to enhance their work in the area of the administration of juvenile justice and to use the Convention on the Rights of the Child as their main tool to achieve this objective, and to facilitate their work in that regard;
  5. Invites the High Commissioner to inform the Committee of progress made in the implementation of the present Decision.

CRC/C/90, 22nd Session, September 1999.

Decision No. 1 on Children in Armed Conflict

The Committee on the Rights of the Child,

Recalling that at its second session in 1992 the Committee devoted one day to a general discussion on the topic "Children in armed conflict" at which the relevance and adequacy of existing standards were discussed,

Noting the similarity of the conclusions on the negative effects of armed conflicts on children reached by the expert of the Secretary-General in her 1996 study entitled "The impact of armed conflict on children" (A/51/306 and Add.1) and by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the impact of armed conflict on children,

Recalling that at its third session it prepared a preliminary draft optional protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (E/CN.4/1994/91, annex) that it submitted to the Commission on Human Rights at its fiftieth session,

Having welcomed the subsequent decision of the Commission on Human Rights, as contained in its resolution 1994/91, to establish an open-ended inter-sessional working group to elaborate, as a matter of priority, a draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict,

Noting that the working group has met yearly since 1995 and that it was unable, at its fourth session held in February 1998, to reach agreement on a draft text which could be adopted by consensus,

Welcoming Commission resolution 1998/76 and the request to the Secretary-General to invite the Committee, inter alia, to submit comments and suggestions on the report of the working group,

Reiterating its growing alarm, upon its examination of a large number of reports of States parties on their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, at the deeply tragic consequences of the involvement of children in armed conflict,

  1. Expresses its concern at the delays experienced in the process of drafting and adopting the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict;
  2. Recalls that the function of optional protocols is to promote the progressive development of international law by enabling those States that are willing to adopt more demanding standards to do so;
  3. Reaffirms its belief that this new legal instrument is urgently needed in order to strengthen the levels of protection ensured by the Convention;
  4. Stresses the special responsibility of States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the search for the most protective solutions, guided by the best interests of the child;
  5. Recalls its major Decision on the fundamental importance of raising the age of all forms of recruitment of children into the armed forces to eighteen years and the prohibition of their involvement in hostilities;
  6. Also recalls that adoption of the optional protocol will provide an opportunity for States parties that are in a position to do so, and them alone, to accept its provisions by ratification or adherence;
  7. Expresses the hope that States that are not yet in a position to accept the eighteen-year age limit will not prevent the adoption of the optional protocol by other Governments;
  8. Invites States parties to make every effort to facilitate the adoption of the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict before the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

CRC/C/80, 19th Session, September 1998.

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