First year anniversary of Optional Protocol 3 to the UNCRC

Date: 14th April 2015
Category: Optional protocol on a communications procedure

One year since the Communications Procedure came into force, Ratify OP3 CRC are calling for State Parties to ratify OP3 and improve access to justice for all children.

On 14th April 2015, the Coalition "Ratify OP3-CRC", of which Together is a member, prepared a statement in collaboration with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and other UN experts in children's rights.

The statement, titled "Lets pave the way to justice for all children" calls on all States to make a leap on the path to justice for children through ratification of Optional Protocol 3 to the UNCRC (OP3 CRC).

With Argentina's ratification on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry into force, bringing the number of ratified States to 17, the statement highlights the need to continue efforts to strengthen international and legal mechanisms, like OP3, to ensure that every child in the world has access to justice.

OP3 CRC is a mechanism which allows children or their representatives to report child rights violations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in cases where the national legal system fails to provide remedy for these violations. The Committee then investigates the complaints, and can ask governments to take action.

It has the potential to allow child victims to be heard at the international level and ensure the accountability of States. Moreover, giving access to meaningful redress is essential for the recovery and rehabilitation of child victims.

Scotland and UK context

The UK has not ratified OP3 CRC nor signed it to signify a commitment to ratification in the future. Together continues to recommend the Scottish Government to set out its support for UK ratification of the Third Optional Protocol (as per the 2014 State of Children's Rights report).

A UK wide report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child outlining compliance with the UNCRC in 2014 stated "the Government recognises that ratifying the Optional Protocol may add further protection for children in respect of their rights and will continue to keep this under review in light of emerging information about procedures and practice."

A recently published report by the UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights on compliance with the UNCRC across the UK states the following:

"We believe that the Government should ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which would give children the right of individual petition to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child."