UK urged to sign the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure

Date: 10th December 2019
Category: UNCRC Optional Protocols and General Comments, Communications (Optional Protocol 3)

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Child Rights Connect, together with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children have sent letters to the countries who have still not ratified all Optional Protocols to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), including the UK.

The letters highlight that children’s rights can only be realised if all of the child rights-specific treaties (UNCRC and its three Optional Protocols) are ratified and implemented, and call on the countries to ratify the outstanding Optional Protocols.

The UK Government has still not ratified the third Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure (OPIC).

What is the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure?

This Optional Protocol sets out an international complaints procedure for child rights violations.  It entered into force in April 2014, allowing children from states that have ratified the Optional Protocol to bring complaints about violations of their rights directly to the UN Committee if they have not found a solution at national level. 

The UK Government currently has no plans to sign up to this Optional Protocol, stating that ‘the UK already has strong and effective laws under which individuals may seek enforceable remedies in the courts or tribunals.’  The UK Government has stated that it is ‘still considering how this Optional Protocol [to the UNCRC] might add practical value for people in the UK’ and will ‘keep the matter under review in light of emerging information about procedures and practice’.  

In its 2016 State of Children’s Rights Report Together recommended that the UK Government sign this Optional Protocol to provide additional scrutiny for ensuring the rights of individual children are protected.

Child Rights Connect encourages organisations to use these letters as advocacy tools and disseminate them at national level.